The University of Ghana has been sued for re-assigning and withholding the salaries of its Deputy Director of Physical Development and Municipal Services Directorate for over 19 months.
Daniel Otabo Ahene-Amanquanor contended his transfer to the College of Health Sciences in Korle-Bu, was a form of demotion by the university.’
He had therefore gone to the High Court, (Labour Division) to seek a declaration that the conduct of the University was unfair to him and violation of the duty imposed on the university by Article 23 of the Constitution.
Plaintiff is also seeking an order of injunction restraining the University’s Management, Vice Chancellor, officials, agents, servants, privies from reassigning him from his role as Deputy Director of Physical Development and Municipal Development Services Directorate to the extent of approval by University Council.
In Court, Mr. Ahene-Amanquanor who was led by his lawyer, Mrs. Maame Ama Hany tendered his witness statement and other exhibits to the court after which he was cross-examined by Gloria Coffie, counsel for the University.
In his statement of Claim, he opined that he was employed on June 22, 1993, as a site engineer and accepted same on August 4, 1993.
According to plaintiff on February 26, 2010, he was appointed as Deputy Director of Physical Development and Municipal Services Directorate of the University.
Plaintiff contends that his appointment was analogous to the rank of Associate Professor and Senior Member at the University hence his appointment was made under the authority of University Council.
According to him, by reason of his appointment as Deputy Director his position could only be varied by management of the University per approval of council of the university.
In May 2012, Plaintiff said categories of employees embarked on strike which prevented other employees from going to work or performing their duties assigned to them by the University.
While on strike, plaintiffs said University Vice Chancellor, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, sent his driver to him to request for fuel voucher to be endorsed by him.
Plaintiff declined to endorse and explained to the driver that employees were on strike and that “he was unable to endorse same.”
In the midst of the strike, the plaintiff received a letter dated on June 25, 2012 from the Office of the Vice Chancellor directing him to proceed on leave.
Plaintiff said he had previously applied for leave which had accumulated over the years adding he had outstanding leave of 620 days.
The plaintiff said “he was surprised when he was asked to proceed on his outstanding leave of 620 days by the Vice Chancellor who is not the proper person in charge of granting or refusing leave applications.”
The University Human Resource Directorate granted him his leave of 682 days on October 5, 2012.
However on leave, plaintiff said he received a request from the Vice Chancellor’s office to return the University’s vehicle in his possession but he declined since he found it absurd.
Per a memorandum, dated October 1, 2012, the Vice Chancellor of the University wrote to the Director of Finance authorizing him to withhold Plaintiffs salaries until he returned the official vehicle.
On February 23, 2015, plaintiff was reassigned to assume duties at the Korle Bu Campus of the University as Project Manager within the College of Health and Sciences with effect from March 1, 2015.
This plaintiff contends that this was “a derogation of his job role and attempt to do away him and whittle down his hard earned reputation”.
He was therefore seeking damages and cost and an order to set aside letter by the Vice Chancellor purporting to reassign him.
The University in their statement of defense, noted that plaintiff failed to apply for his leave in line before travelling outside, adding that he travelled without the University’s permission.
It contended that plaintiff’s re-assignment was necessary as a result of restructuring of the directorate and the re-assignment did not affect his rank as a Deputy Director as well as his other rights and privileges as a senior member of the university.
“The Vice Chancellor is the academic and administrative head of the University and can re-assign duties to senior members of the defendant’s institution,” the defendant stated.
According to the defendant, plaintiff salary was withheld when he deliberately decided to keep the university’s vehicle.
“The reason why the plaintiff’s salary for the said period has not been paid was due to an administrative oversight and plaintiff has also not demanded same from the defendant, the University added.