Public Relations Officer for the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) , Ernest Azutigah has shot down a request by the Member of Parliament for the Effutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo Markin, calling for the reinstatement of dismissed Vice-Chancellor of the school, Professor Mawutor Avoke.
Mr. Markin has written to the Governing Council of the UEW, calling for steps to be taken to reinstate Professor Avoke.
“I have read in detail the report of EOCO and it appears regrettable that Rev Father Professor Afful Broni who was the lead complainant of the procurement irregularity and persistently urged my office to pursue same was indicted whereas his boss, Prof. Mawutor Avoke and the Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Akorlie were completely exonerated by EOCO of any wrongdoing.”
“I expect that in the interest of justice and fairness, your council upon receipt of this report will do the needful and take appropriate action. I need to reiterate that Ghanaians are following the events of the Education of Winneba keenly,” excerpts of his letter had said.
But Mr. Azutigah on Eyewitness News, however, said Afenyo-Markin’s petition is a ploy to put the university in a bad light.
“The petition by the MP for me is needless and superfluous. It is part of a grand scheme to keep the University in a bad light and I think it is not in good shape. If you have initiated all these processes, I think that the least you could do is to exercise patience for these processes to be exhausted.”
Giving reasons for Avoke’s dismissal, Mr. Azutigah clarified that the former Vice Chancellor’s “dismissal was not based on the EOCO report”, as widely suggested.
“The reference point was actually the fact-finding committee’s report which necessitated the formation of a disciplinary board to take up the matter. These people that were affected however refused to attend to the call of the disciplinary board and the disciplinary board presented its report to Council. The Council looked at it and said they had misconducted themselves grossly and based on that misconduct they were dismissed so that is the fact of the matter,” he explained.
He believes it will be prudent to allow the University’s Governing Council, which has been petitioned on the dismissal, to determine the next line of action.
“The council has been petitioned so if indeed the Council has received that petition we should wait for the determination that will come out of it. We should allow lawful processes to work,” he said.
An Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) report recently exonerated Prof. Avoke and other principal officers of procurement and management breaches.
Afenyo Markin’s letter comes only two weeks after former President Jerry John Rawlings wrote to the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, making the same demands.
“The action has created a complex situation, leaving the exonerated Prof. Avoke and his colleagues still out of work. Honourable Minister there is a clear case of injustice and the continued non-resolution of this matter is justice denied and untenable.”
“As per the Professor's request, I will be grateful if you can look into the merits of the latest developments and take the necessary steps in consultation with the relevant stakeholders that will be satisfactory, justifiable and equitable in the eye of the law. I count on your kind assistance and cooperation,” portions of Rawlings' letter read. Background
The Efutu Member of Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin in May 2017 petitioned EOCO through the Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, with 13 allegations against some principal officers of the University.
The officers included; former Vice-Chancellor Prof Mawutor Avoke, former Registrar Akwaah-Mensah and Former Head of Finance, Theophilus Senyo Akorlie.
EOCO, in addition to the three investigated officials, also questioned a former VC for the University, Prof. Akwasi Asabere Ameyaw, the Winneba Area Manager for Ghana Highways Authority, Mensah Bedie, and the Authority's Chief Technical Officer also for Winneba, Lawrence Lamptey.
The investigations concluded that the University complied with the provisions of the Public Procurement Authority Act as amended in its award of contracts to Sparkx Ghana Limited for five distinct projects.
Similarly, it concluded that the University followed due process when it selected Paa Badu Construction Limited for the construction of a 2000-Bed Hostel and another to C-Deck Limited for the construction of a clinic extension at Winneba as well as a Basic School at Kumasi.
This is contrary to Mr. Afenyo-Markin's allegations that the Officers did not follow the due process in the award of the contracts.
EOCO in its report, also noted that there was no evidence to establish any act of impropriety against the Officers for a 3 percent investment paid to the management staff of the University.
It also dismissed Mr. Afenyo's allegation that the University failed to use national competitive tendering in the purchase of 8 pick-up trucks which cost the Institution eight hundred thousand Ghana cedis.
EOCO concluded in its report that the allegations were unfounded, baseless and untrue.
Prof. Avoke had on several occasions attempted to take back his previous position but to no avail.