Professor Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu
Professor Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu

Professor Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu, a Chemical Cystallographer and Supramolecular Chemist, was appointed in January 2017 and inducted last month as the Rector for Wa Polytechnic amidst rich cultural displays.

But, less than one month of his colourful investiture, he has been embroiled in corruption claims by some staff, which compelled the Polytechnic Governing Council to suspend him in a letter dated 5th April 2018, pending further investigations.

He had since denied any wrongdoing and insisted the purchase of the Mercedes Benz saloon car, which was at the centre of the controversy, went through the right procurement process, in which he only played his part by voting.
The voting was 4-3 in favour of the purchase of GH¢503,000.00 car, according to Professor Marfo-Owusu.

The Ghana News Agency sought to find out who Professor Marfo-Owusu is?

Professor Marfo-Owusu was born on 18th march, 1963 in Accra to the former Chief Executive Officer (1990 – 2000) of Ghana Standards Authority, Rev Professor Kwasi Marfo and Akosua Nyamekye from Nsuta-Kyebi, and Atwima-Yabi in the Ashanti region, respectively.

He started his primary education at community 8 No.2 Primary School at Tema in 1969, and passed an entry examination to Aburi Presbyterian Boys Secondary School in 1977.

After passing the Common Entrance Examination and completed his secondary education in 1982, he obtained General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level certificate, and moved on to University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), at Ile-Ife, Nigeria after passing joint admission matriculation board (JAMB), a university entry examination.

He pursued a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree programme in Chemistry and completed in 1987 with BSc (Hons) Chemistry degree. The topic of his project work or dissertation was: “Production of soap using local raw materials,” under the supervision of the late Dr T. Nwosu.

Professor Marfo-Owusu returned to Ghana in 1987 for his national service duties under the National Service Scheme programme where he worked with the soap production unit.

In 1989, he was offered a job at the Ministry of Education in Zambia as an expatriate chemistry teacher and taught chemistry at Linda Secondary School in Livingstone at the Southern Province, and excelled very well in training very good chemistry students.

Having successfully completed his two-year contract in Zambia, he returned to Ghana in 1992 to join Societe -General Services Bank (SGS-B) Ghana limited laboratory in Accra as chemist Assayor who was trained to analyse soil and rock samples for gold and other minerals, as well as analyse water and automobile oil samples.

In 1993, he left SGS –B after being offered a job as a Junior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry in University Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University) in South Africa where he taught first year general chemistry as well as second year, third year and honours class analytical chemistry.

In the same year, he was admitted for a two-year Master of Science (M.Sce) Degree programme in chemistry by research at the same department of chemistry. His area of research studies was centred on structural studies of Thiourea inclusion complexes under the supervision of the late Professor John Stewart Rutherford (a mathematical crystallographer).

His research study was titled: “Host-guest interactions in Thiourea inclusion complexes,” and employed X-ray crystallography techniques.

The study had applications separation science technology particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. He presented several scientific papers on his research work at crystallography conferences held in Poland, Netherlands, Italy, USA, and South Africa.

He has won several awards such as IUCr Young Scientist award to attend crystal growth summer school in Netherlands, British Crystallography Society (BCA) young scientist award to attend summer school on crystal structure determination using X-ray diffraction techniques as well as America crystallography Association (ACA) young scientist award to attend a summer school on crystal structure determination using X-ray diffraction techniques in Pittsburgh-USA and BCA young scientist award to attend summer school on crystal structure determination using neutron diffraction techniques in Oxford University..

Due to the lack of facilities for X-ray crystallography studies in the Department of Chemistry at University of Transkei, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu pursued most of his research studies at crystallography laboratories in the department of – Chemistry at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, University of Durham, U.K, and at Department of Crystallography in University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

In 1995, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu graduated, and was awarded M.Sc. (Chemistry) degree by University of Transkei. He was the first M.Sc. (Chemistry) graduate in the history of the Department of Chemistry. Within the same year, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu was invited by Institute of Material Science in Tohoku University at Sendai-Japan as visiting lecturer in the Department of Crystal Physics where he delivered a seminar presentation titled “The Relationship Among Guest-Thiourea Isostructural Compounds.; The EA Index”.

In 1997, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu went on leave of absence and left University of Transkei, after being awarded a prestigious MONBUSHOB Japanese scholarship to pursue doctoral program in supramolecular chemistry at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Tokyo-Japan and performed his research under the supervision of Prof. Kenji Okuyama. His research studies was titled “Structural Studies on Supramolecular Systems of Non-Chiral Surfactant Molecules With (R)-(+)-1, 1-Bi-2-naphthol and Rac-1, 1-Bi-2naphthol” The study has applications in separation of chiral and racemic drugs. By dint of hard work, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu completed his doctoral programme and graduated with Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng) degree in Supramolar Chemistry (Crystal Engineering)) in 2001 He published several papers in peer reviewed journals and international conference proceedings.

In August, 2001, he won a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship from Japanese society for promotion of science (JSPS) to pursue research in the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the School of Engineering in University of Tokyo, Tokyo-Japan.

He pursued research studies on liquid crystalline compounds and published an extensively well cited paper on a new urea gelator. As a post-doctoral research fellow, he presented papers in crystallography conferences in Istrael, Switzerland, Australia, and Spain, as well as attended neutron scattering training at Canadian Atomic Energy Centre in Ottawa Province.

He returned to Ghana in 2004 and had an appointment as Senior Scientific Officer at the Biotechnology Department in Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), as well as part-time chemistry lecturer in Department of Chemistry at the University of Ghana where he taught structural chemistry.

Due to lack of facilities for crystallography research studies in GAEC, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu went on leave of absence after being awarded post-doctoral fellowship to pursue research on intercalated compounds with Prof. Alicia Beatty at the Department of Chemistry in Mississippi State University, Starkville – U.S.A, and later moved to the Department of Chemistry in University of Washington, Seattle – U.S.A to perform structural studies on dyes in Prof. Bart Kahr laboratory in the Department of Chemistry.

Shortly after he returned to GAEC, he was invited for a two month consultancy job at the Department of Chemistry in Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman, in 2007, he resigned from GAEC to join the Department of Chemistry in University of Nizwa, Nizwa-Sultanate of Oman as an Assistant professor of chemistry and taught inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and industrial chemistry.

He returned to Ghana in 2010 after completing his contract work at Sultanate of Oman and was offered an appointment as a visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry in University of Cape Coast, (UCC) where he taught physical chemistry courses.

While in UCC, he was invited as a sponsored research scientist by Dr. Amber Thompson in chemical crystallography laboratory at the Department of Chemistry in University of Oxford – UK, in the period of 2012 – 2013 to perform research and publish several papers on inclusion complexes with Dr. Amber Thompson.

He presented papers on thiourea inclusion complexes in IUCr conferences in Norway and Oxford –UK. During his research time in Oxford University, he employed synchrotron radiation and X-ray crystallography techniques in his investigations on numerous inclusion complexes studies he performed at the crystallography laboratories in Diamond-UK and Oxford University.

In 2013, he was given a contract to write the curriculum for the chemistry and Biochemistry programmes in University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani.

In July 2014, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu resigned from the Department of Chemistry at UCC after being appointed as Dean of School of Science and Head of Chemistry in UENR. He helped in the establishment of the Chemistry Laboratory.

He was a member of the academic board, as well as the Chairman of Centre of Excellence Committee, and a member of Procurement and Tendering Committee, and Chairman of the UENR Graduation Gown Committee.

In February 2017, Prof. Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu went on leave of absence in order to take up an appointment as Rector or Chief Executive Officer of Wa Polytechnic. He is a member of Ghana Education Trust Fund (GATFUND) Board as well as Member of Board of Conference of Rectors and Vice Chancellors of Polytechnics and Technical Universities (CORP), Member of IUCr, Member of Ghana Chemicals Society, and Synchrotron Radiation Users Group in Polytechnics.

He is married and has three children with his Zambian wife (Gitpher Chinyanta Marfo. He is a Christian and loves playing football and chess.

He was appointed Rector of Wa Polytechnic in February 2017 and was inducted on 24th March 2018.

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