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Current UTG administration is disappointing - witness tells court

Aug 28, 2012, 10:52 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Dr. Lamin Sidibeh, former senior lecturer at the University of The Gambia, UTG, Friday told the court that the current administration of the UTG under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammed O. Kah, is disappointing, embarrassing and disheartening.

Dr Sidibeh was testifying as the second defence witness (DW2) in the ongoing trial involving UTG former Director of International Affairs, Alhagie Gumbo Ali Touray, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate  Alagbe.

Touray is standing trial charged with the offence of giving false information to a public officer.

Sibideh told the court that he joined the UTG as a senior psychology lecturer, and the position was advertised and the people who applied were both national and international, among them the current vice chancellor.

Asked by the defence counsel how Mr. Kwadwo Kojo was appointed into the UTG, Dr. Sidibeh told the court that he was a member of the council at the UTG, and knew that Kojo had been appointed 3 months before being approved by the council members, and that the appointment  was backdated by the council members and Professor Kah.

He said he did not interview Mr Kojo personally, but Kojo was interviewed by some council members, such as Bai Mattar Drammeh, Dr. Jah, the current deputy vice chancellor, and Baboucarr Bouy, permanent secretary (MoBSE), and another member of the faculty through a mere telephone interview.

He said this was so even though there was a Gambian who was more qualified for the position than the Ghanaian man, who possesses only an MBA, Masters in Business Administration.

Dr Sidibeh added that what he wrote in the letter to Dr. Tangara in his capacity as academic staff representative was all true, because as a council member, he was not being honoured and decided to write the letter to Dr. Tangara, chairman of the UTG governing council, even before Gumbo Touray wrote a petition to the UTG Chancellor and the President of the Republic for redress.

He added that after writing the letter to Dr. Tangara, there was no problem and there was no reaction from Professor Kah, and they once met to discuss the apology letter of the accused person, but he had never mentioned to him about the letter he wrote to Dr. Tangara.  

When given Exhibit 1, the NDEA report, to read a portion in an open court by defence lawyer Conteh, Dr. Sidibeh told the court that most of the appointments of various individuals into the senior cadre of UTG (academic and administrative), were single-handedly done by Professor Kah, without going through the prescribed procedures.

He said undoubtedly most of the beneficiaries of such appointments were either his friends or relatives.

He said the Act or bye-laws at the UTG make it very clear that staff meetings were needed to be held every 3 months, but Professor Kah made it 6 months when there were issues which needed to be discussed at the meetings, but all these were no longer happening at the UTG.

Dr Sidibeh further adduced that, at the moment, five outstanding staff of the UTG were being victimized by Professor Kah and their academic contribution to the UTG was excellent, but their services had either been terminated or are on long-term suspension by Professor Kah.

Still testifying, Sidibeh told the court that the suspension of the accused person, as academic representative, he was totally against that, and he was not convinced compared to the amount of evidence put on the table by Professor Kah.

He also said Gumbo Touray’s suspension and subsequent termination of his services was not in line with the UTG conditions of service, since Professor Kah took a wrong procedure.

He added that the accused person’s case needed to be referred to the disciplinary committee, and the disciplinary committee would review the case.

From there, he said, positive feedback would be given to Professor Kah, and he could then take any action as vice chancellor.

“I resigned on 15 March 2012, and the reason for my resignation was that the Vice Chancellor should be answerable to the council, which had the power to suspend, but instead he was doing everything without consulting the council.  I then decided to resign to be sincere to my colleagues,” Dr. Sidibeh told the court.

Regarding the renewal of the contracts, Dr Sidibeh said the contract needed to be reviewed and renewed mutually without any problem, especially when it comes to staff with excellent performances.

He added that, to him, Professor Kah was not fit for his position as Vice Chancellor for an institution like the UTG.  

The case was then adjourned till 28 August 2012.