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NUL boss’ last kicks

Staff Reporter

 

MASERU — Professor Adelani Ogunrinade’s three-year reign as the National University of Lesotho (NUL) vice-chancellor might have ended on Monday but those in the corridors of power at the varsity say the man put on a spirited fight to save his job.

As his suspension was coming closer to an end on February 2, Ogunrinade is understood to have started “playing delaying tactics” so that he could go back to work before his case was finalised. 

This paper can reveal that Ogunrinade’s “mind games” with the NUL Council started in December, five months after he was suspended.

He left for Nigeria, his home country, on December 2 and indicated that he was going to be back on January 5.

He however did not give his physical address as required by his letter of suspension on August 2.

The university could not get in touch with him.

He then informed the university on January 6 that he would be back at his official home at the campus on January 7.

On January 6 the university then wrote him an e-mail indicating that since he was going to be back on January 7 there was a notice for him to appear before a disciplinary hearing a week later.

This notice is understood to have been e-mailed to him but it did not include any charges because, according to sources, they were “too bulky to be e-mailed”.

The e-mail sent to Ogunrinade said when he got to the campus he would find a copy of the notice containing the charges.

That notice was delivered to his house and his security guard signed for it.

Ogunrinade however only arrived at Roma on January 10. 

Investigations have revealed that Ogunrinade then on the same day wrote a letter to the disciplinary hearing team excusing himself from appearing before it on the set date.

In his letter Ogunrinade is understood to have said he wanted time to consult his lawyer.

He also said he had not had time to read the whole document.

He also requested that the hearing should not be conducted at NUL because he did not feel comfortable about it.

The panel agreed to move the hearing to the following Friday but a day before he was due to appear before the panel, his lawyer wrote a letter to the panel saying he had received Ogunrinade’s charges late and needed time to read them.

The panel agreed with Ogunrinade and the lawyer that the hearing would proceed from February 4 to 8.

This was because the council had resolved to extend his suspension by a month to March 2.

A few days before February 4, his lawyer then filed an application with the High Court challenging his suspension on the grounds that he did not report to the council and that it did not have the power to suspend him.

The matter will be heard on March 30. 

In the meantime his lawyer had also written to the council saying he expected his client to be back at work by February 3, a day after his six-month suspension had ended.

Irked by these delaying tactics, the council decided on February 12 that should there be no movement on the case by the end of the suspension period they would proceed to dismiss him.

On February 26 the council agreed to dismiss him.

He will be paid cash for the six months notice period as his contract stipulates.

While on suspension, Ogunrinade had been enjoying his full benefits.

During his suspension he received M322 000 as his salary.

The university also paid M67 000 he incurred on his phone bills.

It also paid per diems for his driver every time he took Ogunrinade to his home in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At his Roma home, the university was picking the tab for his maid and gardener.

He also enjoyed his normal university-funded annual holiday.

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