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General News of Monday, 24 May 2021

Source: Philip Antoh, Contributor

GES can't take over management of APS - Lawyers

Emmanuel Broni Besiako, lead counsel for APS Emmanuel Broni Besiako, lead counsel for APS

Lawyers of Achimota Preparatory School (APS) has made it clear to officials of Ghana Education Service, the Ministry of Education and the government of Ghana that, they cannot take over management of the school because APS is a separate legal entity.

According to the lawyers, the management of APS last meeting with GES official made them accept the fact that the school is a registered company limited by guarantee and a legal entity which makes it difficult for any entity to forcefully take over affairs without recourse to the law.

The Governing Board of APS speaking through their lead counsel, Mr Emmanuel Broni Bediako at a press conference urged the government to be considerate with its decision to eject the school from its presence location without recourse to justice.

According to the board members, the school has occupied the said land for over 70 years not as a commercial entity but as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) contributing its quota to training the human capital of the country.

Mr Biadiako indicated that the government must be considerate to compensate the school at least in two ways.

 Firstly, Mr Biadiako proposed that the government could compensate the school by giving it a reasonable number of years to relocate or secondly, a portion of the land at least three acres should be given to the school to continue operation.

Mr Biadiako further demanded that the government allows the pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff to return back to the school in order not to jeopardise the lives of, especially the Form ‘3’ students who are about to write their exams.

“As we speak here, our client tells that some offices on the premises of the school are still under lock and key by the GES/Ministry of Education against the advice of the President of Ghana, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo,"he said

“The headmaster has been forced out and sanitation issues in the school among others are appalling.”

He backed his position by urging the Ministry and GES to consider the fact that school is not a moveable asset, hence it will take time for this process to occur.  

The lawyer clarified that the school is not in a legal tussle with the government over the ownership of the land, however, it cannot be ejected without making any provision for it.

The public was also urged to treat the Ghana Education Service (GES) action to take over the school premises with disdain, as it is unlawful and illegal.

“The take-over of APS is illegal and unlawful, and I want to repeat, illegal and unlawful, because the GES or Government of Ghana has not and cannot show any court order or for that matter a Writ of Possession that they have trumpeted…” he pointed out.

He further stated that the information put in the public domain that there had been attempts to engage APS management for a peaceful transition has no iota of truth, as the GES is alleged to have failed vehemently to produce such evidence at a meeting held on May 18.

To the lawyer, “…if there was a properly planned transition as they want the whole world to believe as the Minister of Education alluded to on Peace FM on Tuesday, May 17, 2021, on Kokrokoo and our first meeting, they would have presented the same for consideration and discussion at the May 18, 2021 meeting?”

He added that APS currently has liabilities and others that may come up in the future and asked whether the government will bear those responsibilities or not.

Lawyer Biadiako described the action government taken by the GES/Ministry of Education as a backdoor approach and hoped rather for direct negotiations leading to a peaceful outcome.

“We can only agree to sit at the table again with the GES/Ministry Education only when they withdrew their policemen and administrative staff from the school and allow the staff of the old system run the school as and when the stakeholders or parties under the negotiation process,” he stressed

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