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Opinions of Sunday, 24 September 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Salifu Bawah

The lost dignity of UTAG has now returned home to roost!

In attempting to establish the legal basis upon which Mr. Supi Kwayera (the claimant in the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) suit), derived his rights from, the 1992 Constitution is the first point of call. Article 41 (f), of the 1992 Constitution confers on the citizens of Ghana the right to expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.

The said Article 41, and the entire 1992 Constitution provides no exemption for public universities.

Section 1 (2) of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) Act 2004, Act 672, provides that, "the university shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession. A common seal and may sue and be sued in its own name".

Furthermore, Article 125 (5) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that "the judiciary shall have jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal...".

From the above provisions, it is clear without question that the action of Mr. Supi Kwayera, is legally justified, and therefore, proper.

The arguments put forward by the outgone UTAG President (Agbanu) and his surrogates, that the suit against UEW is an attack on so-called academic freedom, is clearly borne out of ignorance, incompetence and greed, coupled with a blatant attempt to 'paint the claimant and the judiciary, black'!

The two accused Principal Officers of UEW (VC and FO), also have their rights grounded under Article 19 of the 1992 Constitution. Article 19 (1), provides that, "a person charged with a criminal offence shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court".

In addition, Article 19 (2)(c) stipulates that "a person charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty". So the VC and FO have every right to prove their innocence in court, come October 9th, 10th and 11th, 2017.

If Agbanu and those who bought into his 'crazy' idea of the suit against UEW being an attack on academic freedom couldn't read basic and plain English as stated above, couldn't they have simply asked level headed individuals for clarifications, instead of ending up portraying themselves as subjects of ridicule and laughing stock?

Agbanu and co. would do themselves a great favour and limit the damage to their battered image, if they can quote a single Article from the 1992 Constitution, hat states that, an action cannot be brought by a citizen of Ghana against a public university because of academic freedom.

On the appointment of the Catholic Priest (Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful Broni) as the Acting VC of UEW, which UTAG tried vainly to portray as being 'illegal', constitutes another below the 'belt blow' from Agbanu and the like, which further questions their intellectualism.

Article 195 (1) of the 1992 Constitution provides that, "subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the power to appoint persons to hold or to act in an office in the public services shall vest in the President, acting in accordance with the governing council of the service concerned given in consultation with the Public Services Commission".

One may attempt to use Article 195 (3) to argue that the appointment of Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful Broni was not 'proper', since UEW is a body of higher education, and therefore, such an appointment is vested in the council or other governing body of that institution.

To sweep those lawless arguments aside, in the first place, Article 195 (1), starts with "subject to the provisions of this Constitution...". The Constitution thus empowers the judiciary to have jurisdiction in all matters civil or criminal. Therefore, the High Court, being part of the judiciary did nothing illegal by appointing Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful Broni as the Acting VC of UEW, which the current gov't only gave effect to.

Secondly, since UEW had no governing council at the time the High Court appointed Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful Broni as the Acting VC, and now that there is a governing council in place, the current governing council could invoke the powers vested in it under Article 195 (3), and appoint the Catholic Priest as Acting VC of UEW. End of baseless arguments!

For those who are intellectually deficient and as a result, have no grasp of the power of the judiciary, should abreast themselves with these: The November 2000 Presidential Elections in the USA, which Al Gore lost, was decided by the USA Supreme Court.

The winner of the 2012 Presidential Elections in Ghana, was determined by the Supreme Court.

The Kenyan Constitutional Court has recently annulled the results of the August 8th 2017 Presidential Elections that incumbent President Jomo Kenyatta was declared winner by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Agbanu and his fellow bootlickers would have cried an 'attack on democracy', were their paymasters affected negatively by the above courts decisions. Seen what the judiciary can do? Make and unmake Presidents! Therefore, making and unmaking a Vice Chancellor of a public university, is 'koko'!

To the coward Victor K. Owusu, your accusations against the Winneba High Court Judge of corruption, will have to be substantiated in court. Failure on your part to do so, amounts primarily to contempt of court which may land you a possible jail term. The then UTAG UEW secretary, now UTAG UEW Vice President, maybe compelled by the court to produce you, since one of your cowardly articles was routed through his email address, in clear violation of the Data Protection Act 2012, Act 843.

Other failed intellectuals, attempted to chart a middle course in the heat of the UEW brouhaha. These individuals constituted the 'lowest of the low'. When an issue arises for debate in the academia, an intellectual who knows his stuff, is either for, or against the issue at stake.

Such failed intellectuals are in simple terms, saying that they do not know the pros and cons of the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances as propounded by Montesquieu, or the deficiencies or otherwise inherent in the doctrine of the Rule of Law as originally argued by A. V. Dicey. What a shameful and disgraceful lot! There is no sitting on the fence in the academia!

There was a report in the 'Republic Newspaper', that the Acting VC was involved in a 1 billion cedis per diem fraud. If this is the case, why are the voodoo priests and their praise singers, not heading to court to assert their rights under Article 41 of the 1992 Constitution?

Anyway, if the Catholic Priest who was the Pro VC, and had no control whatsoever over UEW finances, was able to carry out a 1 billion cedis per diem fraud, then one could imagine the gargantuan fraud the voodoo priests, who were signatories to UEW bank accounts, would have looted! It is not surprising that they allegedly attempted to bribe a contractor with Ghc 100,000.00 in their bid to cover one of their shady tracks.

To the 'prostitute' Agbeshie Epiphany, who was bought with a cheap appointment as Coordinator for the Office of Institutional Advancement, you are advised to publish your responses to my articles by way of rejoinders in the same medium that my articles are published, but not via email to me.

I don't read such 'childish dough'. By emailing me, you have openly accepted my superiority over you. I know you are below standard to challenge me, however, am ready to permit my level 200 students to give you some education and thereby help improve your English language to enable you write acceptable rejoinders for publication in both the electronic and print media, instead of foolishly emailing me your bull shit.

Your emails to me will serve as evidence against you in court, if I do decide to bring a harassment suit under the law of torts against you.

It is the belief of right thinking people in society, that NEVER would UTAG under the able and capable leadership of Dr. Eric Opoku Mensah, allow its name to be dragged in the mud as happened quite recently under the inefficient and ineffective leadership of Agbanu.