The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu has debunked sexual harassment allegations against him by the Chief Executive of Africa Integras, Andrea Pizziconi.
In a radio interview on Accra based Starr FM on Thursday, Prof Oduro Owusu said the allegations were unfounded and said Ms Pizziconi was “desperate” and “bitter” because he [Oduro-Owusu] renegotiated her company’s contract with the University of Ghana
The allegation comes amidst discussions on BBC’s documentary on sexual harassment on university campuses.
In a social media post on Facebook, the Africa Integras CEO alleged that in all her dealings with the University of Ghana, it was Prof Oduro Owusu who made her most uncomfortable.
She claimed that Prof Oduro Owusu declined to work with her to save the Africa Integras project on the basis that she was “far too pretty to worry my little head about the project”.
She alleged that on one occasion when they met, the Vice-Chancellor said: “Turn around, everyone, I want to give her a proper hug.”
But, Prof Oduro Owusu, in an interview with Accra based Starr FM on Thursday said the “claims are untrue and can never be true”.
“The claims are not true and can never be true. I am sorry to say that this must be coming from somebody who is desperate, frustrated, anger and bitter. If you know me so well, you wouldn’t be asking me that question. It can’ be true and it will not be true so far as I live” he said.
When asked if he had ever had any conversations with Ms Pizziconi before, he said he has had series of meeting with her but not alone, “I met her because of the project and I never meet her alone. I have never had any personal engagement with her. All our meetings with this woman have been extremely business one”.
“I have been extremely careful not to have a one on one with her, I have always insisted we meet in teams and she rejected that but I told her my style is that we meet in teams. The last time I met with her, she insisted that she want to meet with me alone in my office and I said no”, that was in 2018 that was the last time we met. I said no you can’t meet me alone in my office. I had to get someone there. She said no the issues to be discussed are between the two of us. So truly before God and man I called in the registrar and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor to sit in” he explained.
He added that “And she got there she saw the two of them sitting there and she said oh [of cause there was a bit of discomfort in her face], she said oh I don’t know you people are Christians and you have strong faith so let us hold our hands and pray and that was quite strange…that was the last time I saw her”.
“I have never been with her to a hotel, I have never been with her to a restaurant, I have never stood under a tree with her alone, and I have never had any personal or individual engagement with her. I have been extremely careful”.
Prof Oduro Owusu, however, said if the University’s Council decides to investigate Ms Pizziconi’s allegations against him, he is ready and willing to submit himself to that probe.
He also called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage.