Dr. Bekoe suffers second blow in court

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The Cape Coast High Court 2, today 22nd July, 2019 dismissed an application for judicial review filed by Dr Samuel Ofori Bekoe over a ruling dismissing an earlier application to challenge his dismissal from the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).

The court presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Mills Tetteh dismissed the application on the grounds of it not being filed within the period allowed for review.

Counsel for Respondent, University of Education, Winneba, Paa Kwasi Abaidoo argued that by law, an application for a review by the same court should be done within a period of fourteen days (14) from the date of the ruling but this was not complied with, by the applicant. The review application was filed Nineteen days (19) days after the ruling. In this circumstances, the applicant had injuncted himself from applying for review.

Counsel for the applicant, Harold Atuguba, on the other hand held that part of the reasons for his client’s inability to file for appeal was his inability to afford the filing charges at the appeals court hence he settled for review.

He also argue that the case
had to be filed out of the stipulated period because he could obtain the court judgement on time to file his application.

Council Abaidoo in his rebuttal to the arguments by Harold Atuguba pointed out that the applicantion should have come under order 80 which bothers on extension of time. However, the applicant came under order 42 which talks about applying for review within fourteen days (14). Besides, financial constraint is not a stated condition for extension under order 42. He therefore prayed the court to dismiss the application because it was incompetent.

It would be recalled that same court on the 25th June, 2019 ruled and dismissed his application for judicial review on his reinstatement.
Reading the ruling before a packed court, her ladyship, Justice Mills Tetteh held that the University of Education, Winneba did not err nor breach the rules of natural justice in dismissing Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe.

In a ruling that lasted an hour or so, her ladyship advanced that the position of the applicant that his conduct which was the subject of investigation for which he was being invited was already before a Winneba Magistrate Court and therefore he could not attend upon the investigative committee was flawed.

She maintained that where there is alternative resolution, the court relies on it. Therefore, the administrative processes used by UEW could run parallel to the ongoing judicial processes bearing in mind that the University had to run. She noted that there must be a fine balance struck between the right of the individual against public interest.

It would be recalled that at a Council meeting in February, 2018, Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, then a Convocation Representative on UEW Council was alleged to have issued death threats to some Council members. This consequently led to a complaint being lodged at Winneba Municipal Police Station which also ended at the Winneba Migistrate Court and an administrative process triggered. An Investigative Committee was constituted through the University’s internal disciplinary processes to look into the issues.

The judge in her ruling also settled the issue on the capacity and locus of the Vice-Chanellor and the Chairman of the Governing Council to discipline the affected person. She held that the aforementioned officers had the mandate and acted within the remit of the law. She 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 has the mandate to discipline any senior member in accordance with the the statutes, she pointed out.

Her Ladyship Justice Mills Tetteh posited that there is 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 demonstrated that several opportunities were extended to applicant to appear before the investigative committee and the disciplinary board but same treated the invitations extended to him with contempt and open defiance. The argument therefore, that the applicant was not given any hearing is untenable. She held that the applicant could not disable himself and turn round to complain that he was not given any hearing. The court accordingly dismissed his application.

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