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I Will Not Be Attending The Disciplinary Hearing Scheduled For May 6, 2020- Bar.Agbor Balla

A lecturer of law in the department of Law and Political Sciences at the University of Buea, Barrister Agbor Felix Nkongho has protested the summons from the UB Disciplinary Council, informing them that he will not appear as demanded this Wednesday, May 6, 2020, because the summons was legally and constitutionally flawed.

In a four-page document addressed to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, Professor Horace Manga, the legal mind argued that he was not given ample time of 5 days required to appear before the Council upon reception of summons -he received the summons on May 5, 2020, and was requested to answer present the next day.

In Service of “Invitation Letter to a Disciplinary Hearing”

“As earlier stated, the letter inviting me to ‘the Disciplinary Hearing’ was served this  May  5, 2020 at 12.08 PM. The Ministerial Circular of 2017, supra, states that: The disciplinary procedure of a teacher being essentially contradictory, the suspect must be summoned in writing, at least five (05) days before the holding of the Council.”

The invitation falls short of the minimum requirement of five days of prior notice. The use of the mandatory MUST in the circular and not the optional MAY is an imperative command and a legal obligation that must be respected. It shows the importance of the necessity to give the suspect ample time to prepare his defence. How can justice be done and be seen to be done when the suspect was served less than 24 hours to the hearing. What time will the suspect have to prepare against the very “serious allegations” against him?

He also stated that no prior investigation has been carried out against the accused and he has not been interviewed to have his own part of the story before findings are sent to the President of the Disciplinary Council who then calls for a meeting.

“Similarly, ‘the need to protect the right to a defence‘ is well articulated  in the following instruments;

 -Ministerial circular No. 17/0013/MINESUP/SG/DAJ/CC of 17 October 2017 on due respect of disciplinary procedures in public institutions of Higher Education in Cameroon;

which forms part of the New University Governance, to be read in conjunction with

-Decree No. 93/027 of 19 January 1993 on common provisions applicable to universities as amended by Decree No. 05/342 of 10 September 2005;

– Decree No 93/035 of 19 January 1993 on the special status of higher education staff as amended by Decree No 2000/048 of 15 March 2000.

Reference is hereby made to the Ministerial circular, under the heading

“THE DISCIPLINARY COUNCIL AND THE PROCEDURE FOR TEACHERS. Following Section B;  “The requirements of disciplinary proceedings involving teachers” states that:

“It is incumbent primarily to the Registrar, on the occasion of a disciplinary council before which a teacher must appear, to investigate the matter. In this wise, he must obligatorily hear the suspect on the basis of a report [. . .].”

At the end of the investigation, a circumstantial report is transmitted to the President of the Disciplinary Council, in order to provoke the holding of the Disciplinary Council, through a convocation sent to the members of the Council precising the day, time and the place of the session.  The suspect, in this case, was never invited for the purposes of any such prior investigation.”

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