Ernest Thompson, the former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), earlier today appeared before an Accra High court, where the State leveled criminal charges against he and four others – over a controversial $72 million Operating Business Suite (OBS) contract awarded to Perfect Business Solutions.
He and four others; Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, former head of IT Department; former OBS project manager, John Hagan Mensah, and the former general counsel of SSNIT, Peter Hayibor, as well as Juliet Hasana Kramah of IT company Perfect Business Systems, had 29 charges including conspiracy to willfully cause financial loss to the state, willfully causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretense, and contravention of Public Procurement Act, among others, leveled at them.
All the five persons facing prosecution have been granted self recognizance bail.
Background to the case:
SSNIT settled for the $72 million OBS software although it had received tenders to undertake the project at much cheaper prices including $4 million by Persol Systems and $9.8 million from Sambus Company Limited. The eventual winners’ contract bid produced a tender price of $27,610,792 which was reviewed to 34, 011,914.21 after the General Services Manager of SSNIT identified arithmetic errors in the tender of the eventual winners, Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium.
However, after the deal was sealed in 2012, the cost of the project increased by about $32million and $72 million overall – an increase that was attributed to the procurement of additional equipment which included headsets, servers and flashdrives.
Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, who together with Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa led the states prosecution, told an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Court of Appeal judge sitting as additional High Court Judge, that these individuals via their actions have caused a loss to the state.
Hearing has been adjourned to October 17, 2018.
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