Cape Coast High Court (2) Dismisses Contempt Case Against UEW
The Cape Coast High Court 2 at its sitting on Friday, 1st March, 2019, threw out a criminal contempt application filed by Counsel Harold Atuguba for Dr. Kaakyire Duku, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, Dr. Theophilus Ackorlie, Mr. Frank Owusu-Boateng, Ms. Mary Dzimey, Ing. Daniel Tetteh against the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Chairman of the Governing Council, Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar of the University.
Counsel Kofi Adwabour holding brief for Patrick Asante-Nnuro represented the 1st respondent whilst Paa Kwesi Abaidoo represented the 2nd to 4th respondents as Counsel. Giving the ruling, Her Ladyship Mrs. Mills Tetteh held that the respondents did not do anything to warrant the contempt of prison application filed.
She added that whatever actions or decisions had been taken by these officers were within the remit of their mandate given by the Governing Council, which Council is properly constituted and backed by law.
Her Ladyship also cited the Supreme Court ruling delivered on the 22nd of December, 2017 filed against UEW by Prof. Mawutor Avoke and colleagues.
The said ruling held that since the case was about the governance of the University, for the avoidance of doubt, it did not affect whatever the newly constituted Council had done.
She further held that the actions of the Officers were authorized by the Governing Council of the University who also exercised their powers within the remit of the law.
She argued that in a criminal contempt case of this sort, the applicants should have proven beyond reasonable doubt that the respondents did not have the mandate to exercise the powers so disputed or should be able to demonstrate amply that, in exercising the powers given them, they exceeded their remit.
However, in the case before her, there was no such evidence.
She further held that the process filed in court did not bar the respondents from taking any decisions or actions which warranted criminal contempt because the court did not make any definite pronouncement on the matter.
It would be recalled that Dr. Kaakyire Duku, Prof. Mawutor Avoke and 4 others filed an application at the Cape Coast High Court 2 in February, 2018, against UEW challenging among others the dismissal of 5 officers and demanding their reinstatement, the appointment of the then Ag. Vice-Chancellor and his nomination of 3 Professors for Pro-Vice Chancellor election, as well as the holding of the April, 2018 Congregation ceremonies.
On 22nd November, 2018 the same court granted an application for misjoinder filed by the 2nd to 4th respondents on the grounds that the University is a legal entity which can sue and be sued.
The court has further slated March 22 and April 12, 2019 for the motion of judicial notice on Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe’s dismissal and reinstatement, and Dr. Kaakyire Duku challenging the dismissal and seeking reinstatement of Prof. Mawutor Avoke and 4 other officers formerly of the University respectively.
The court ordered Counsel for applicants to amend the title of the suit since some of the parties had been non-suited.
This is the fourth in recent times that applications from Prof. Avoke and Colleagues have been thrown out by both the Supreme Court and the Cape Coast High Court.
These consist of 2 certiorari by the Supreme Court and, a misjoinder and criminal contempt applications by the Cape Coast High Court 2.