A five-member panel of the Supreme Court has thrown out an application filed by political science lecturer, Isaac Brako, and three others, seeking the court to restrain Dr Raymond Atuguba from acting as lawyer for the University Teachers Association Ghana (UTAG), University of Education Winneba (UEW) Chapter.
The plaintiffs filed the application because the then President of UTAG-UEW Chapter, Dr Samuel Ofori Bekoe, did not consult members before filing a court process in September in the name of the Association, hence their decision to challenge the actions of their President.
The action relates to a writ filed in May 2017, where one Supi Kofi Kwayera, adduced that the university’s council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry failed to constitute a new governing council for the university.
The plaintiffs, in their lawsuit, said Dr Bekoe’s decision for UTAG-UEW to be joined in the court case came as “a surprise and a shock, since no meeting was ever convened on the Kumasi campus, Mampong campus or Winneba campus to take a decision to meddle in the court case”.
They also said Dr Bekoe did not have the capacity to represent the UTAG UEW Chapter “since no such consent and authority was given to him by the members to depose an affidavit in court”.
Aside from the other issues raised, the plaintiffs added that, Dr Atuguba “was never engaged by members through any resolution”.
“In effect, no decision was ever taken by UTAG UEW Chapter to appoint Dr Raymond Atuguba as its lawyer,” the lawsuit added.
Background to UEW litigation
A Winneba High Court in July ordered the Vice-Chancellor of UEW, Professor Mawutor Avokeh, to step aside until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council is determined.
The order also affected the institution’s Finance Officer.
The order was made in a case brought before the court by Supi Kofi Kwayera who insisted that the Vice-Chancellor and the Finance Officer were operating under the institution’s defunct governing council.
The Mr Kwayera held that the University’s Council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the university, and rather allowed and permitted the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council as if same had been properly constituted.
This, Mr Kwayera insisted was unlawful, and hence his legal action against the University of Education, Winneba.
The order from the court was described as an attack on academic freedom, hence the agitation from some lecturers to be joined in the case to fight for what they believed was unlawful.