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24.08.2005 Crime & Punishment

Law School run like village technical school

Chronicle
Spectators who were present at yesterday's sitting of the committee of enquiry investigating allegations against the Director of the Ghana School of Law (GSL), Mr. Kwaku Ansa-Asare, were thrown into a state of shock. This was when a Senior Lecturer at GSL, Mr. Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang made revelations of fraud and scheming by the director.
He emphasized that Mr. Ansa-Asare had reduced the administration of the law school to the level of a village technical school, where no one could object to the unilateral decisions of the headmaster.
“My Lord, I have been questioning him on his unilateral and autocratic decisions but he is always annoyed with me; he handles it not even like a secondary school but like a village technical school where no one could object to decisions the headmaster takes,” he asserted.
“As for me, I have been confronting him on his questionable character and he is afraid of me, that is why he sued The Chronicle but could not sue me. Meanwhile, I was the source of The Chronicle story,” he stressed.
However, neither Mr. Ansa-Asare nor his counsel turned up at the sitting though the committee noted that on Thursday, they had served him to appear before the committee.
In further substantiation of his allegations, the lecturer submitted voluminous documents to the committee, which he claimed he had laid hands on from impeccable sources, on issues he had been investigating for over one year.
Mr. Opoku-Agyemang started launching the missiles at Mr. Ansa-Asare, by first questioning the validity of his appointment as Director of the Law School, which appointment he said left much to be desired.
He said Mr. Ansa-Asare had schemed to become the substantive director through dubious means in order to siphon huge sums of money from the school's lean budget for his own selfish interests.
He indicated that in his 8 years of working as a lecturer in the school, he had never witnessed such degree of rot in the history of the school than under Ansa-Asare's administration.
According to him, when Mr. Ansa-Asare was appointed Acting Director, the then Chief Justice, E. K. Wiredu who was the signatory to his appointment letter, indicated that his appointment was based on a meeting of the General Legal Council (GLC) on July 11, 2002, adding that the position of a substantive director was to be advertised subsequently as normal procedure in the public service.
Mr. Opoku-Agyemang made it clear that positions at the GSL had always been advertised, adding that even his position as a lecturer was advertised before he applied and was subsequently employed.
He continued that since 2002, he had not come across any advert for the position of a Director in GSL, hence Mr. Ansa-Asare's appointment was null and void.
He said his investigations had proven that there was no meeting by the GLC or whatsoever as Mr. Ansa-Asare's appointment letter purported to have been signed by Justice Wiredu claimed.
“We must follow the tenets of the law, so due process must be followed,” he advocated.
He stated that GSL was a subvented organization, therefore as required under the financial administration laws of Ghana, all accounts should be lodged at the Bank of Ghana. However, an account has been opened by Mr. Ansa-Asare at the Makola Branch of the International Commercial Bank (ICB), to siphon funds from the law school.
He said in only March last year, about ¢2billion had been withdrawn from that account, with account number, 002993/01.
He said most of the books Mr. Ansa-Asare claimed he had bought could not be traced in the Library, since the library was only a 38-seater one, which could not contain that quantum of books.
He said though sometimes when the salaries of the lecturers delayed, Mr. Ansa-Asare said the school did not have money, when it came to the purchasing of books, he paid before the books were supplied.
According to him, on December 29, last year, the registrar wrote a memo to the director of GSL, Mr. Ansa-Asare, also the Managing Director of Readwide Books limited owned by he and his wife and his child, to supply books worth ¢850 million from the HIPC funds.
Mr. Opoku-Agyemang stressed that it was very amazing that about ¢4 billion supposed to have been spent on books purchased from Readwide, was transferred from the HIPC funds by Mr. Ansa-Asare, around Christmas time, when people were in financial crises and without the directives of the Librarian and the lecturers.
He said career magistrate students were each forced to buy books worth ¢1.4million from Readwide that did not have any bearings on their course.
He continued that the calling to the bar of Ms Irene Ansa-Asare, daughter of Mr. Ansa-Asare should be declared null and void.
He stressed that the post-call course was for persons who had been called to the bar in other jurisdictions.
Ansa-Asare's daughter was asked to participate in the course though she did not submit any application, certificates nor pay school fees.
He called also on the committee to investigate why the Law School's fence wall should cost ¢469million to construct.
He said while the utility bills of the lecturers had not been paid as required, Mr. Ansa-Asare's utility bills, including his Larteh residence, had been paid from the accounts of the Legal Education Board.
The committee could not take all the testimony of Mr. Opoku-Agyemang due to the length of the testimony and adjourned sittings to today, to enable him continue.


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