A BBC Africa Eye undercover investigation at the University of Ghana has exposed a lecturer from the College of Education, Dr Paul Kwame Butakor, pleading to a ‘female’ student to become her side guy.
He said repeatedly, “Let me be your side boy, side guy…men have side chicks…I will not give you trouble…seriously I will not give you trouble…I will not give you trouble…I will not be a distraction to your life…let me be your side guy…”
According to the lecturer, he is married and his wife is not in the country but he would like to be by the side of the student and vice versa.
“Maybe you’ll be my side and I’ll also be your side. Because me, I’m married…my wife is not in the country though…my wife is out of the country,” he said while interacting with the BBC undercover journalist who posed as a student in his office.
After meticulous interactions with some female students at the nation’s premier university, the BBC Africa Eye undercover journalists were led to Dr Paul Kwame Butakor.
The journalist who posed as a final year student of the School of Education and Leadership, University of Ghana approached Dr Butakor and expressed an interest in reading for a Masters Degree after her Bachelor’s Degree.
After meeting with the lecturer for the second time in his office, Dr Butakor told the student how beautiful she was looking and inquired whether any guy on campus has said so.
“You look muwaah…how many guys have told you ‘You are beautiful’ today?” he quizzed.
The University of Ghana regulations prohibits lecturers from having sexual relationships with students because they are in positions to influence their education and such flirtatious behaviour is considered misconduct.
The BBC Africa Eye reports that Dr Butakor after his meeting with the final year student offered a National Service work placement in his department even though the deadline for National Service application had passed.
He told the student further that there would be no interruptions and being in his office will help her focus on her career.
“No distractions, your focus should be on your career…then the side will see how best he can also contribute to your career and make you to become a better person,” Dr Butakor said.
When the BBC contacted Dr Paul Kwame Butakor, he denied any amorous behaviour with the BBC undercover reporter or any of his students.
He said he follows all university sexual harassment and misconduct rules and added that he had no intention of dating either any student or the reporter.
He indicated that he had no intention of circumventing the university process to secure placement for her in return for sex.
The Management of the University of Ghana expressed worry over the allegations levelled against Dr Paul Kwame Butakor when the BBC contacted them.
It said the university “has a pro-active policy on sexual harassment and is committed to rooting out the problem.”
About ‘Sex for grades’
‘Sex for grades’ is a BBC Africa Eye undercover investigation into some academic institutions in West Africa which increasingly have been faced with allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven.
After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana.
Female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras.
Undercover reporter Kiki Mordi, who knows first-hand how devastating sexual harassment can be, reveals what happens behind closed doors at some of the region’s most prestigious universities.