A sexual harassment allegations by Drea Pizziconi, CEO of Africa Integras against the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Ghana-Legon, Prof Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu has taken on a new twist as Ghana’s Premier University faces a staggering US$ 160 judgment debt.
According to Ms Pizziconi, her refusal to give in to the sexual advances from the Legon VC was one of the reasons that led to the messy end of a students’ hostel and other infrastructural contract with the university. The cancellation of the contract led to a 2018 arbitration proceedings in a London court where a whopping US$160million in judgment debt has been slapped on the school.
The court had refused to side with the school’s position that it had abrogated the contract because the signing of the contract had not satisfied due diligence, saying the claim by the school was untrue.
It is unclear if the University of Ghana has paid this judgment debt.
Prof. Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu was the man in the centre of the controversy, as he abrogated the contract on grounds that it had not followed due process.
The same Prof. Oduro-Owusu is the one Drea Pizziconi has accused of sexual harassment. In a tweet from her Twitter handle, which has already gone viral, the CEO of Africa Integras reveals that the Vice-Chancellor had frustrated the contract because she had refused to give in to sexual advances from him.
She claims that at a UG Council meeting in August 2017, Prof. Oduro-Owusu had suggested that the contract which was signed between herself and the past VC, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, was invalid, “as it was signed under duress in a hotel room.”
“Nothing could have been further from the truth and in fact of all my dealings at UG and in Ghana it was this VC who made me most uncomfortable.”
Ms Pizziconi alleges that Prof Oduro-Owusu declined to work with her to save the Africa Integras project with the excuse that she was too beautiful to be working hard. She writes the he said “(I am) far too pretty to worry my little head about the project, while declaring ‘turn around, everyone, I want to give her a proper hug.”
According to her, “my not doing so landed me in the headlines for years with attacks against my character and credibility despite the buildings sitting on campus for anyone to inspect. Now tens of thousands of young people have been deprived of those buildings since I was told I was ‘far too pretty’ to worry about livelihood.”
Prof. Oduro-Owusu has dismissed the allegations. He is the third male official of the University of Ghana to be outed for sexual harassment this week, following the BBC’s documentary, “Sex for Grades” that exposed Professor Ransford Gyampo and one Doctor Bukator.
It is widely expected that Prof. Oduro-Owusu would be the third UG teacher to be interdicted over an alleged culture of sexual harassment on the UG campus, which became topical after the BBC aired the investigative piece on the issue.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, Senior Lecturer of Political Science Department and Head of European Studies at the school and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor, a lecturer at the Department of Teacher Education of the School of Education and Leadership, are now expected to face a probe by the University’s anti sexual harassment Committee after they were interdicted over sexual harassment.
The two featured in the BBC documentary in which they were caught in a secretly recorded video sexually harassing ladies that the BBC had recruited to pose as desperate female students looking for help. Prof. Gyampo’s video had led to boos and jeers by some of his students on Monday because in the video his apparent desperation to get the lady to give in had seen him shoot off his mouth with a promise to marry the total stranger.
Following the documentary, he had vehemently denied harassing the lady saying that the lady was not a student of the school. The school’s anti-sexual harassment Committee had supported that line of argument by Prof. Gyampo dismissing the BBC documentary on grounds that the lady was not a student of the school. However, what appeared to be a victory for Dr. Gyampo soon turned to a nightmare, when a former female student of the University of Ghana, Dela Goldheart came forward with the allegation that she had been sexually harassed by the same Prof. Ransford Gyampo while she was a student.