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General News of Thursday, 19 April 2018


Ernest Thompson rejects PwC report following ‘needless press conference’

Ernest Thompson, Immediate past Director General of SSNIT Ernest Thompson, Immediate past Director General of SSNIT

Immediate past Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Ernest Thompson says he is unaware of any investigation or audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers as he was not invited by any body for such purposes.

According to him, the only body he has appeared before as regards investigations into the $72 million SSNIT OBS software is the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) with his last appearance coming in October, 2017, six months ago.

He has therefore imputed mischief to Wednesday’s “needless press conference” called by management of SSNIT over the outcome of the PwC audit.

A statement issued on Thursday by Baako Apem Chambers, solicitors for Mr Thompson, explained that Mr Thompson adopted a “dignified silence” as his response in the investigations by EOCO, on their advice.

“It is thus obvious and crystal clear that the SSNIT management has decided to do politics and in the process has adopted as its own weapons persecution and victimization of our client and ignored the truth, evidence and facts surrounding this OBS project,” the statement said.

The statement described as “spurious” allegations being leveled against Mr Thompson by SSNIT led by its current Managing Director.

The solicitors explained that as regards the escalation of the OBS contract figure from $34 million to $72 million, the original scoping only made provision for 400,000 cards when SSNIT had a contributor population of three million.

“Again the scoping provided for only five (5) kiosks (the machines that look like the ATM machines of the banks) whereas SSNIT has about 54 branch offices throughout the country each needed to be provided with the kiosks to enable the contributors to access any information required.”

The statement, therefore, justified the purchase of additional cards of over two million and 50 kiosks “in furtherance of the effective management of the project,” adding that will “lead also to contract price escalation automatically”.

SSNIT on Wednesday at a press conference cautioned Mr Thompson and three others – Juliet Korama, John Haggan Mensah and Caleb Kwaku Afaglo – for willfully causing financial loss to the state, as per the EOCO report.

Mr Thompson, according to his solicitors, has taken exception to the usage of ‘arrest’ at the press conference.

“Please, let those who are minded to go on this voyage of recklessness in pursuit of these defamatory statements against our clients be advised accordingly.”

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