The Supreme Court this morning, Wednesday, 12th February, 2020, has in a ruling presided over by Justice Jones Mawulom Dotse, unanimously dismissed an application for review filed by one Kweku Bondzie Sey of Winneba, on the grounds of public interest, challenging the judgement of the Cape Coast High Court 2, on the dismissal of Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe in which the University of Education (UEW) was an interested party.
The implication of the ruling by the Supreme Court is that Dr. Bekoe, is dismissed forever from the employment of UEW and that, the ruling of Cape Coast High Court 2 presided over by Justice Mills Tetteh (Mrs.) could not in any way be faulted.
The University of Education, Winneba’s legal team was led by Paa Kwesi Abaidoo. Conspicuously, missing in court today, however, was Counsel for Kweku Bondzie Sey, Alexander Afenyo Markin whose brief was held by Korkor Okutu.
It would be recalled that at a Council meeting on February 22, 2018, Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, then a Convocation Representative on UEW Council was accused of issuing death threats to some Council members. This resulted in a formal complaint lodged at the Winneba District Police Station. Besides, internal disciplinary processes were initiated against him for his gross misconduct. This led to his dismissal after his refusal to appear before the Disciplinary Committee and Disciplinary Board upon several invitations. The complaint also ended at the Winneba Magistrate Court.
The Cape Coast High Court 2 on 25th June, 2019 ruled on a certiorari application brought before it by Ex-parte Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe against the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), challenging among other things his unlawful dismissal.
In that ruling, her ladyship stated that the position of the applicant, that his conduct which was the subject of investigation, for which he was being invited was, already before the Winneba Magistrate Court and therefore could not attend upon the Investigative Committee and Disciplinary Board was flawed in law.
Her Ladyship Justice Mills Tetteh explained that where there is an alternative resolution, the court relies on the alternative resolution. Therefore, the administrative processes used by UEW could run parallel to the ongoing judicial processes, bearing in mind that the University had to run. Her Ladyship noted that in dealing with such issues, there must be a fine balance struck between the right of the individual against the public interest.
Her Ladyship, Justice Mills Tetteh posited that there was no evidence to the argument by the applicant that he was not given the opportunity to be heard. Her Ladyship drew evidence from the face of the records to demonstrate that several opportunities were extended to the applicant to appear before the Investigative Committee and the Disciplinary Board but the same applicant treated the invitations extended to him with contempt and open defiance. The argument, therefore, that he was not given any hearing is untenable. She held that the applicant could not disable himself and turn around to complain that he was not given any hearing.
The judge, Justice Mills Tetteh in her ruling also settled the issue on the capacity and locus of the Vice-Chancellor and the Chairman of the Governing Council to discipline the applicant.
Her Ladyship held that the aforementioned officers had the mandate and acted within the remit of the law. Her Ladyship quoted copiously from the University Statutes and cited other rulings to buttress her own ruling. The Vice-Chancellor per the University’s Statutes is the chief disciplinary officer of the University, and therefore, had the mandate to discipline any senior member in accordance with the statutes, Her Ladyship pointed out.
Her Ladyship, Justice Mills Tetteh concluded that UEW did not err nor breach the rules of natural justice (audi alteram partem) in dismissing Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe. The applicant, Dr. Bekoe subsequently filed for a review of the ruling at the same court and same was also thrown out.