Prof Ernest Aryeetey    play videoProf. Ernest Aryeetey speaking on's '21 minutes with KKB'
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana has recently been featured in a number of publications linking him to mishaps during his tenure.

As he sat with Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on ’21 Minutes with KKB’, the professor sought to, among other things, set the record straight on the controversial $217m University of Ghana Medical Centre, the $64m Africa Integras partnership, his legacy as well as life in retirement.

Before his appointment as Vice-Chancellor, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. He was also Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon for the period February 2003 – January 2010. 

An academic by all standards and a pragmatic character too! 

Setting the record straight: The $64 million partnership deal

The most recent accusation making waves is the one concerning Africa Integras. According to Prof. Aryeetey, the University, back in 2015, entered into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with Africa Integras to invest US$64 million in the construction of 1,000 new students’ hostel beds for undergraduate and post-graduate students on the Legon campus.

There are claims that the University signed the agreement without doing due diligence but Prof. Aryeetey has refuted such assertions.

For Prof. Aryeetey, the project was in the interest of the University of Ghana. Without mincing words, he maintained that the contract was subjected to rigorous scrutiny, describing the posture of the institution as unfortunate.

“…the University of Ghana has decided, for whatever reason, to take different position on decisions we took collectively. The University of Ghana and its new management has decided that many of the decisions that we took need to be relooked. That is extremely unfortunate as far as I’m concerned,” he posited.

He further indicated that new handlers of the institution have not been fair to him as far as the issue is concerned.

“A report was written by a committee that was put together by the Vice Chancellor to look at the Africa Integras project. I wrote a rebuttal to the report; University of Ghana wouldn’t even allow academic work to see my comments on the report” said Prof Aryeetey. 

“The Vice Chancellor made a presentation to the Academic Board based on that report which was largely false. I wrote comments on it. I said, ‘when you’re going to distribute this to the board, add my comments to it’. It wasn’t done. So I’m forced to use public means to get my voice heard. That is not my first choice. My first choice would have been account to a meeting of the University," he added. 

Converting all male/female halls into mixed halls

The former vice chancellor maintained that the decision to change the Commonwealth Hall from an all-male hall to a mixed one, during his tenure was never solely his. He claimed that the decision had already been taken by the school’s management before he was appointed VC.

“I think that’s a bit of misinformation,” he said.

In fact, the plan was to make all halls mixed as the “university became more and more gender sensitive.”

According to him, at the time, the university was taking seriously the demand to make female representation a prime focus and access to halls of residence was a major factor. 

Prof. Aryeetey even believes that, the misinformation was a deliberate attempt by people “to incite the students of Commonwealth Hall against [him], stressing that he “never was the one that promoted that agenda.”

Nonpayment of Cal Bank loan

The University of Ghana was dragged to court by Cal Bank and the school’s debt became a source of juicy headlines for the media for a period in 2015.

The University in 2011 contracted a syndicated loan facility from six including Cal bank. The delay in its repayment led to a suit. According to Prof Aryeetey, the unfortunate suit only came about because the government at the time failed in its promise to repay the loan for the University. 

He defended the school’s position at the time, saying that “the only way we could pay it was to increase the rent for students.” 

In his time, the former VC recalled sanitation as his most worrisome issue. 
The building of additional four hostels was a consequential solution to the problem of overcrowding in dorm rooms that was resulting in the unsanitary situations in the halls. 

Prof. Aryeetey, Rojo Mettle Nunoo – Owners of UG Hospital

Former Deputy Health Minister, Rojo Mettle Nunoo, and Prof. Ernest Aryeetey as well as one Prof. Aaron Nii Lante Lawson were accused of registering the newly built 650-bed University of Ghana Health Facility in their names.

According to a Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, checks from the Registrar General’s Department indicated that the University of Ghana Medical Centre had been registered in the names of these three individuals.

To this accusation, the professor said “if I own that hospital, I’ll be the richest man.” 

Clearing the air, he stated that, the then president of Ghana, the late John Evans Atta Mills defied his own colleagues and put his government’s weight behind the construction of the medical centre because he saw its importance.

Albeit the facility would be owned by the University of Ghana, it was agreed that, it would be run independently of the school and the Ministry of Health, all of whom had stakes in it as an entity. 

The decision, however, to let Professor Aryeetey take over the reins, was reached by a disciplinary committee and “then all of that went into an agreement signed by the University of Ghana and the Ministry of Health,” he revealed. 

He also described as a lie, the third name saying, only two names [his and the former health minister’s], were on the hospital’s documents. 

Professor Aryeetey says he has learnt lessons from these development. 

“This issue of ownership, is written in black and white… so anybody who says there’s an issue of who owns the hospital is refusing to clearly accept something that has been properly done,” he noted. 


Professor Ernest Aryeetey has remained untamed in the face of all these allegations and does not see it as an attempt at erasing the massive infrastructural development of Ghana’s premier university that is attributed to him. 

In fact, he does not believe infrastructure is the only aspect he ought to be remembered for.

“I believe I had an impact on this University in terms of its culture. I believe I made a headway in terms of making people think in a businesslike manner,” he asserted. 

Until his appointment, Prof. Aryeetey claimed that the University of Ghana was run like “any other business.” 

He shared the credit for some of his achievements with young academics who supported him because of their shared beliefs. They did this, he said “…by doing excellent things that brought in money and enhanced the reputation of the University.” 

Plans after retirement

The knowledge that things do not always go as planned is the newest addition to the professor’s dense library. 

Like most hand working personalities, he planned to spend his retirement traveling around the world, researching and writing. 

None of these plans included “spending the first year of my retirement trying to salvage my reputation,” he put it lightly. He did not remotely think that his integrity would be brought to question. In his opinion, the university has suddenly shifted its stance on decisions that were taken collectively in his time, “for whatever reason,” he added. 

With only pride to describe his term as Vice Chancellor, Prof Aryeetey hopes for only the truth, when these investigations are over, whether or not it favours him.

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