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Opinions of Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

On the Run: Is Raymond Atuguba a quack lawyer or real McCoy?

On the eve of the swearing in of the Rev.-Prof. A. Afful-Broni as the new Vice-Chancellor of the Winneba main campus of the University of Education (UEW), I vividly recall the lawyer for the ousted former Vice-Chancellor of the same tertiary academy, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, penning and publishing a rambling long tirade in which Dr. Raymond Atuguba warned President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the scheduled officiant of Prof. Afful-Broni’s induction ceremony, that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Democratic Republic of Ghana risked being in flagrant breach of natural law and justice if he went along with the aforesaid induction ceremony, because the ousted UEW Vice-Chancellor had a petition before the Supreme Court of Ghana seeking to have Prof. Avoke reinstated as the sole legitimate and substantive Chief Administrator of that institution. The lawyer in question, of course, was none other than Dr. Atuguba, the Harvard-trained former Executive-Secretary to former President John Dramani Mahama.

I also vividly recall writing and publishing a hastily composed rejoinder in which I indicated to the renowned relative of Supreme Court Justice William Atuguba that if ex-Vice-Chancellor Avoke happened to have been appointed by a National Democratic Congress’ executive edict, then it was equally justifiable for Dr. Atuguba’s client to have been promptly removed and replaced by another Vice-Chancellor who happened to be the preferred candidate for the job by the newly-elected Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The logic here was pretty much straight-forward: what was good for the proverbial goose was also equally good for the gander. Now, it turns out that the Supreme Court petition filed on behalf of Prof. Avoke and three other associates of his, namely, Dr. Theophilus Ackorlie, Ms. Mary Dzimey and Messrs. Daniel Tetteh and Frank Owusu Boateng was absolutely in no way seeking to have the foregoing petitioners promptly restored to their respective positions from which they had been summarily fired by the UEW’s Governing Council or Board of Governors.

To hear the young and quite remarkable legal light and the longtime New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for the Effutu Constituency, which encompasses the famous township of Winneba, tell it, Prof. Avoke and the latter’s associates’ petition only sought to have the Winneba High Court’s decision, calling for the removal of the petitioners, quashed on grounds that only the testimony of one party to the dispute or the plaintiff, Supi Kwayera, a UEW Governing Council Member, seeking to have then-Vice-Chancellor Avoke removed from office had been taken into evidence. In the best of worlds, according to the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo-presided Supreme Court of Ghana, a Court that firmly believed in the ministration of evenhanded justice would have taken testimonial pieces from both parties to the case into account before proceeding to deliberate on and handing down its verdict (See “UEW Saga: Supreme Court Has Not Reinstated Avoke – Afenyo Markin Clarifies” MyNewsGh.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/31/18).

The decision by the Apex Court quashing the earlier ruling by the Winneba High Court, in the Matter of Avoke et. al. vs. Supi Kwayera, could not have been meant to promptly effect the reinstatement of former Vice-Chancellor Avoke and his administrative minions because it was not the UEW’s Governing Council that had petitioned the Winneba High Court for the removal of the defendants. Rather, the GC had based its decision to remove then-Vice-Chancellor Avoke on grounds of the latter and his associates’ flagrant breach of procurement protocol, as well as the long-expired administrative mandate of the Avoke Group. There are, of course, other legal technicalities involved here that any good lawyer could have easily avoided if, indeed, the lawyer concerned really cared about putting up an impeccable legal defense for his/her clients.

Clearly, it well appears that that legal luminary is not Dr. Raymond Atuguba, the tough-talking but scandalously vacuous University of Ghana’s Law Faculty lecturer. Is the Dear Reader, like yours truly, wondering how the former Mahama scribe secured his Legon tenure-track plum job? We already know how Dr. Atuguba secured his political appointment with the Mahama Presidency.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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