CKT-UTAS Appointment Scandal: State attorney uses foul language on media

The Principal State Attorney, Joyce Debrah. Inset: Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame.

The office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice in the Upper East Region is heading to the Appeals Court in Kumasi, seeking an overturn of a judgment passed by a High Court in Bolgatanga on Monday, 27 November 2023.

The High Court case, filed by an anti-corruption activist, Joseph Pwoawuvi Weguri, featured four defendants.

The defendants included the C.K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences (CKT-UTAS), the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Vice-Chancellor of the university at the time, Prof. Eric Magnus Wilmot, and now-onetime Registrar of the school, Dr. Vincent A. Ankamah-Lomotey.

Weguri challenged the post-retirement appointments reportedly given to Prof. Wilmot and Dr. Ankamah-Lomotey as vice-chancellor and registrar on a platter of political pressure heaped upon the public university, with the undenied and written blessing of former Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

The anti-graft campaigner asked the court to invalidate those appointments and to issue an order compelling the two already-retired men to refund all the salaries and allowances they received from the consolidated fund from 2020 to 2023.

Granting the plaintiff’s reliefs, Justice Charles Adjei Wilson quashed the appointments. But, to the displeasure of the public, the court spared them the cargo of paying back all the post-retirement salaries and allowances they had enjoyed for several months.

“It is unlikely that the defendants would be able to pay back all arrears of salary,” Justice Wilson explained.

Joseph Pwoawuvi Weguri, the plaintiff.

But not satisfied, Prof. Wilmot, backed by the state attorneys in the region and his co-defendant, Dr. Ankamah-Lomotey, filed an appeal notice on Monday, 4 December 2023, and put in a motion for stay of execution on Wednesday, 6 December 2023, through the office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice in the region.

In an affidavit attached to support the stay-of-execution motion, Prof. Wilmot claimed that he had “the consent and authority of the Defendants/Applicants (hereinafter referred to as ‘Applicants’) to depose to the facts herein contained which unless otherwise stated are within my personal knowledge”.

A page from the affidavit attached to the motion for stay of execution.

But when Media Without Borders asked the university, which was the principal defendant in the case and whose involvement in the case was the reason the Attorney-General was also involved, if Prof. Wilmot had its consent for the appeal, the university said Prof. Wilmot lied.

“No,” the Chairman of the university’s Governing Council, Prof. Gordon Akanzuwine Awandare, replied when asked on Thursday, 14 December 2023, if Prof. Wilmot’s claim was true.

“We have moved on from this issue. We are complying with the court order,” added the governing council’s chairman who is also the Pro Vice-Chancellor in charge of the University of Ghana’s Academic and Students Affairs (ASA).

The abusive language used by a lawyer for the state

Now, on Monday, 18 December 2023, the author of this story sought to find out from the Principal State Attorney in the region, Joyce Debrah, if her office had any proof that the university was involved in the appeal move.

“Who the H are you and what do you want[sic]” she replied after the question was posed to her on WhatsApp and followed with a telephone call that went unanswered.

Joyce Debrah, a Principal State Attorney stationed in the Upper East Region.

When the author of this report indicated that the language she used was abusive and was unexpected of a lawyer for the state, she sought to justify it by saying the author did not introduce himself before asking the question.

The author said there was no need for another introduction because he and the principal state attorney had a chat on the same WhatsApp platform three months earlier where he had introduced himself.

“Really?” she asked.

In response, the author forwarded screenshots of the previous chat to her to prove his claim and maintained that even if she did not know who was asking the question in the latest chat, it was never right on her part to use a foul language on anyone.

She did not say more after she received the screenshots and the author pointed out that her language was unjustifiable and her defence untenable.

And she did not answer the question, either, as to whether her office had any proof of the university’s involvement in the appeal attempt or any evidence that the university was backing it or not.

But the university, true to the statement made by the governing council’s chairman that the school was not going to the Appeals Court with the other defendants or appellants but was rather implementing the High Court’s orders, has published on its website job vacancy announcements for the positions of a vice-chancellor and a registrar.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Samson Abah Abagale, told Media Without Borders on Monday that the same vacancies would be advertised in state-owned newspapers soon.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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