Ghana’s Supreme Court (SC) has overturned the High Court ruling, which led to the removal of Professor Mawutor Avoke, as Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
According to the unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said, the high court in Winneba failed to take evidence from the parties in the case before granting judgment.
The court also stated that the high court breached the rule of natural justice by failing to give the defendants a hearing.
The justices of the apex court, therefore, said the high court’s actions amounted to an error of law patent on the record.
Following the Winneba high court’s ruling in December 2017, Prof Avoke, together with some other principal officers of the university, was removed by the school’ Governing Council.
This was described by some lecturers as politically motivated.
The ruling comes after Rev. Prof. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni was inducted into office as the 4th Vice Chancellor of the UEW despite Prof. Avoke’s challenges in court.
The induction was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Prior to the induction, Prof. Avoke’s former lawyer, Raymond Atuguba, warned that the President would be abetting an illegality if he went ahead with the induction.
This is because of the case that was pending at the Supreme Court challenging the removal.
Prof. Atuguba said he was alarmed by the President’s involvement given his “admirable Rule of Law credentials.”
Prof. Atuguba withdrew his representation of the former Vice-Chancellor in open court because he “sensed unseen hands” manipulating proceedings.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu in the Central Region, Alexander Afenyo Markin, has said the Supreme Court by its ruling is not directing for the reinstatement of the dismissed Vice Chancellor of the UEW.
According to him, the plaintiff did in his statement of claim not ask for reinstatement but rather was at the supreme court seeking a declaration that the reliefs of supi kwayera required the taking of evidence even in the absence of defense by the defendant.
“Avoke was not removed by a court order. He was removed by a governing council decision. The orders of the high court, which were quashed today, were never executed by the plaintiff supi kwayera. Avoke was at the supreme seeking a declaration that the reliefs of supi kwayera required the taking of evidence even in the absence of defense by the defendant. No order was made to reinstate him. Avoke never prayed the court to reinstate him. It’s important for this to be put on record. The propaganda will not help the NDC,” he told journalists in Accra yesterday.
It will be recalled that the court, in July 2017, then ordered Prof Avoke to step aside until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.
Also in July, Prof Avoke, along with four others; the Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie; Daniel Tetteh, Mary Dzimey and Frank Owusu Boateng, were interdicted by the school after it emerged that some vital documents at some offices at the centre of an ongoing investigation had disappeared.
They were then found guilty of procurement and other financial irregularities in December 2017.
The irregularities had to do with the monies paid to the contractors of the North Campus Roads project.
In August 2018, the UEW governing council dismissed the five principal officers of the institution after a fact-finding committee had been set up to look into the matter.
Prof Avoke had maintained his innocence and had been challenging his indictment in court.
He took the case to the Labour Division of the Accra High Court but the case was beyond its jurisdiction.
This compelled his challenge in the Supreme Court.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org