Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sacked Boss in Tribunal Threat

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sacked Boss in Tribunal Threat

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

A sacked council manager is threatening to take his former bosses to an employment tribunal claiming race discrimination.

African-born Bright Oduro-Kwateng, 49, who was employed as head of social inclusion at Newcastle City Council, was dismissed after details of his alleged involvement in a people-smuggling racket became known.

However, Mr Oduro-Kwateng says he made no secret of his past and says he now intends to take his case to an employment tribunal after his appeal against dismissal was rejected.

He said he was the senior black person employed by the council and claims he was dismissed after challenging institutional racism at the authority.

As head of social inclusion, he said his job was to ensure equal opportunities and race relations legislation was applied.

He had to ensure everybody was treated fairly in terms of access to services and employment but claims he found discrimination against ethnic minorities and women.

He says he challenged various practices at the authority and ended up suspended then dismissed.

"I am going to a tribunal," he said. "I told them about my conviction. I had a conviction and they knew about it. I am seeking redress at an employment tribunal.

"I am going to fight the council. I believe all their talk about equal opportunities is just talk."

The married father-of-three, who fled Ghana in 1982, was jailed for a year in London in 1998 for defrauding the Home Office by using passports in the names of dead babies to bring people illegally into Britain.

He declared on his CV that he had lost his job with Greenwich Council in 1998 for misconduct.

He was appointed as Newcastle's head of social inclusion in May and dismissed following a September disciplinary hearing.

Mr Oduro-Kwateng said he made no secret of his past and did not breach council employment procedures. He added: "I never smuggled people. I countersigned passports, which was a mistake. …

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