The Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, (UEW) Professor Mawutor Avokeh and five other officers of the University have been detained by Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) over alleged procurement breaches.
Credible information gathered by 3News suggests EOCO on Monday attempted to arrest the six officers but they protested and declined to write statements on the matter. They argued they could not give statements without the presence of their lawyers. EOCO in view of the circumstance, asked them to go and report Tuesday with legal representation for further questioning, which the six obliged and reported Tuesday morning.
They are Prof. Avokeh; Finance Officer Dr. Akorli and his deputy, Frank Owusu Boateng; Internal Auditor, Ms Sena Darkeh; the Procurement officer, Mary Adzime, and Deputy Director of Works and Psyical Development, one Tetteh. 3News sources within the University’s Governing Council say the six officers have since been detained, and EOCO officials are likely to arrest them. “As at now [3:19pm Tuesday] all calls to them are not being answered, so we don’t know what EOCO is doing to them,” one of the sources which spoke on condition of anonymity told 3News. According to the sources, officials of EOCO were in the school six weeks ago to investigate the matter bothering on procurement breaches.
‘Cleared of breaches’ The officers, the sources said, interrogated some officers of the University and the necessary documentation taken away by EOCO. But EOCO was said to have later “cleared them of any breaches” of the country’s procurement law, the sources said, alleging that the Pro Vice Chancellor Prof. Afful-Broni and University Council Chairman, Prof. Abeka “are scheming ensure that the VC and the officers don’t come back”. The sources alleged that the latest action by EOCO was influenced by the Pro Vice Chancellor and the Council Chairman, and questioned why EOCO has allowed itself to be used by some individuals for their parochial interest. “We believe that some few individual political actors in the constituency are manipulating EOCO to satisfy their interest” one of the sources told 3News.
The six officers have for the past month been subjects of investigations by the EOCO in the ongoing crisis in the University arising out of a suit brought against the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Avokeh and the University’s Governing Council at the Winneba High Court. The Court has since ordered Prof. Avokeh and the Finance officer to step aside until the case brought by one Supi Kofi Kwayera, a resident of Winneba, is determined. He has claimed in his suit that the two were operating under the institution’s defunct Governing Council. The mandate of the University Council expired in November 2013 but the Education Ministry allowed and permitted the Council to operate, which the plaintiff in the case said had no mandate whatsoever to continue the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council as if same had been properly constituted.
He insisted the move was unlawful, hence his legal action against the University of Education, Winneba. Ahead of the determination of the case, the High Court ordered the VC and the Finance Officer to step aside but UTAG branch of UEW has since challenged the matter at the Supreme Court. With a certiorari, UTAG is praying the Supreme Court to quash the High Court decision on the grounds that it lacks jurisdiction in the matter brought before it by Supi Kwayera, who UTAG says, doesn’t have the locus standi in the matter.
The latest action by EOCO thus comes ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter next week.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah