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General News of Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Source: dailyguidenetwork.com

Ex-SSNIT boss, 4 others’ case back on

The trial of former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and four others, who have been accused of causing financial loss to the state, is set to continue on June 11.

This follows the dismissal of applications filed separately by the accused persons to put the trial on hold pending the determination of an appeal against an earlier application by the same persons.

The first application was praying the court to drop the charges preferred against the ex-SSNIT boss and two others or in the alternative make an order directed at the Attorney General’s Department to provide them with details of the charges against them.

The application was dismissed by the presiding judge, Justice Anthony Kwofie of the Court of Appeal because the charges levelled against the accused persons contained particulars necessary to give them reasonable information as to the nature of the charges preferred against them.

Not satisfied with the decision, their lawyers filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the High Court.

They subsequently filed another application seeking to stay the trial at the High Court until the verdict of the Court of Appeal.

Apart from Mr. Thompson, John Hagan Mensah, Information Technology Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT and private business woman Juliet Hassana Krama, CEO of Perfect Business Solutions (PBS) Limited, all filed separate motions praying the court to stay its proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.

Defence Lawyers

The defence lawyers, in moving their separate applications, urged the court to stay its proceedings, as their clients would suffer ‘substantial injustice’ if the trial continued while the appeal was pending.

They contended that should the appeal succeed, their clients stand a chance of the charges against them being dropped, and also they stand to suffer an imminent danger of having their fundamental human rights and liberties irretrievably violated.

Opposition

Stella Ohene Appiah, a Senior State Attorney, who opposed the applications, argued that the actions of the accused person were ‘moot’ because the matter had already been decided by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

She stated that there is no compelling reason why the court should stay its proceedings for an exercise being carried out in futility.

After hearing the arguments, the judge dismissed the applications, saying the counsel for the three accused persons had not demonstrated any special circumstances to warrant a stay of the proceedings.

He adjourned the matter to June 11 for the trial to commence.

Trial

Mr. Thompson and three former management members of SSNIT and a private business woman have been accused of causing financial loss to the state in the award of the controversial and failed $72 million IT project – Operational Business Suite (OBS).

Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, General Manager of Management Information Systems at SSNIT and Peter Hayibor, General Counsel of SSNIT, are the other accused persons.

They have been accused of inflating the contract sum of the OBS from $34,011,914.21 to $66,783,148.08 through what are termed variously as ‘change orders’ and ‘variations.’