UEW saga: Former VC Prof Avoke found innocent by EOCO

Professor Mawutor Avoke

Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Professor Mawutor Avoke has been cleared of allegations of abuse of office levelled against him by the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO).

Prof Avoke and four other staff of the UEW were relieved of their posts in April 2018 on accusations of breach of procurement laws and abuse of office.

Investigating the case for nearly a year, EOCO has established that the former UEW VC is innocent.

According to the anti-graft agency’s report, Prof Mawutor Avoke neither abused his office nor breached procurement laws.

Allegations that the University failed to follow due processes in awarding various contracts of the instistution to one Paa Badu Construction Limited and C-Deck Limited, among others, under the authorisation of Prof. Avoke were found to be untrue by the EOCO.

The report further described as “merely speculative”, the allegation that the school failed to use the competitive tendering process in the purchase of eight pickups at GH¢800,000.

EOCO concluded that payment of 3 per cent on investment to all management staff of the UEW is not in contravention of the law.

But the probe found Lawrence Lamptey, Chief Technical Officer at the Ghana Highway Authority, Winneba, was found culpable of willfully causing financial loss to the state contrary to section 179A of the Criminal Offences Act, 1969 (Act 29), conflict of interest as well as using public office for private gain.

The latest episode on the UEW brouhaha is the ongoing pressure on the current Vice Chancellor of the  University of Education, Winneba, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni to vacate his post.

Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful-Broni has been accused of unlawfully dismissing lecturers of the institution who he claimed are sympathisers of the former VC, Prof Mawutor Avoke.

President of the local University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Dr. Frimpong Kakyire Duku and a senior lecturer, Dr. Emmanuel Osei Sarpong are among the staff whose appointments were terminated by the VC.

Reports suggest that in less than a year in office, Rev. Prof. Afful-Broni has successfully “ousted” some thirty staff from office with ranks of some reduced.

These “unfair” dismissals have resulted in a number of protests by students and calls for Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful-Broni’s removal by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

Students embarked on a violent demonstration on March 14, 2019 to protest against Rev. Fr. Prof.  Afful-Broni as they claim he is trying to sabotage the school by sacking hardworking lecturers.

The school was subsequently closed down indefinitely by the Central Regional Security Council over the disruptive protests which saw angry students damaging buildings and vehicles belonging to the school.

The Minority in Parliament has also waded into the leadership crisis at the UEW, demanding the dismissal of the VC.

“We the Minority in the Parliament of Ghana call for the resignation of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Afful Broni, for his incompetence , abuse of office, corruption, spiteful insolence and inability to resolve the current impasse he birthed and nurtured,” the Minority stated in a press release.