Ex-GIJ rector threatens court suit

Sacked Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Dr. Wilberforce Dzisah, is demanding a whopping GH¢25 million as compensation and damages for what he deemed ‘wrongful and unlawful’ termination of his appointment both as a rector and a lecturer of the Institute.

The appointment of Dr. Dzisah as rector was due to expire on September 1 but was terminated on April 1, 2018 per a letter by the GIJ council dated March 21.

No reasons were assigned but it was believed to have been caused by some allegations against Dr. Dzisah “who is said to be under investigation for procurement infractions among others”.

However, Dr. Dzisah said, the termination of his appointment as rector and dismissal as a senior member of the Institute was unlawful as it contravened the country’s constitution as well as the Labour Law and the GIJ Act among other statutes and international protocols.

Apart from a January 29 “interaction” with an Investigative Committee of GIJ, Dr. Dzisah said he was neither invited to participate in any investigative hearings nor otherwise given the opportunity to respond to any allegation levelled against him beyond a written response he provided to the Minister of Education in 2017.

Dr. Dzisah’s lawyers, Atuguba and Associates, in a letter dated April 10, 2018 and addressed to the GIJ council stated “GIJ is liable for wrongfully terminating” Dr. Dzisah’s appointment as rector and as senior member of the Institute.

“We have discovered from the facts provided by our Client that the termination of his appointment was a dismissal camouflaged as a termination, as same was motivated by allegations of misconduct committed by him,” the lawyers argued.“And our Client was not given a hearing in respect of the allegations levelled against him, before his dismissal”, they added.

Consequently, Dr. Dzisah is demanding payment of GHC10 million as damages for wrongful/unlawful termination or wrongful dismissal as the rector and a senior member of GIJ.

He again wants the Institute to compensate him with GHC15 million for the loss of entitlements, which are or would have been due him.

These entitlements, he said, included but not limited to salaries, pensions, allowances, facilities (housing, cars, telephones, etc.), health benefits, and many other perquisites, from the time of the illegal terminations till the actual expiry of his terms of appointment.

He gave   the Institute seven days from the day of receipt of the letter, to meet his demands or face legal action.

“We wish to advise, and advice is hereby given, that should you, within seven days (7) of receipt of this letter, fail to commit, unequivocally, to meeting the above demands, we shall proceed and resort to other lawful processes or avenues to vindicate the constitutional, statutory, and legal rights of our Client without further recourse to you,” the April 10, 218 letter warned.

Giving background to events leading to the termination of Dr. Dzisah’s appointment, the lawyers said he on 14th March 2017 received a letter from the Minister of Education requesting him to respond within 48 hours, a petition addressed for his attention.

Dr. Dzisah, according to the lawyers, responded to the letter and followed it up with a meeting with the Minister of Education.

Not long after he “had absolved himself of all the allegations raised in the letter issued” on behalf of the minister, he received a second letter dated 19th January 2018 from an Investigative Committee of GIJ inviting him for an “Interaction” on 29th January 2018.


Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkoh@todaygh.com

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