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General News of Saturday, 28 April 2018

Source: Starrfmonline.com

SSNIT hid PwC’s caveat on OBS findings – Thompson

Lawyers for the embattled former Director-General of the Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, say they have stumbled upon new information which exposes the hidden agenda of the current SSNIT Management to destroy the image and hard-won reputation of their client.

Some four officials of SSNIT including Mr. Thompson are facing charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

Their indictment was as a result of an investigation by EOCO on the procurement of an ICT Software costing $72 million.

EOCO started investigating SSNIT in August 2017 after it emerged that the Trust had injected $72 million on the procurement and installation of a software and other hardware systems known as the Operational Business Suite (OBS) to digitize SSNIT’s operations which reportedly was not fully functional.

SSNIT also contracted PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to conduct an audit into the contract.

In a 4-point statement released in 2017, “SSNIT said it expects the names of the people associated with the I.T (OBS) contracts to be released in the near future.”

But the lawyers of Mr. Thompson contend that although PWC slotted in a caveat to explain their remit and also the fact that they were to restrict themselves to only a review and analysis of financial information and accounting records, the assignment did not constitute an audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing.

According to the lawyers, SSNIT Board and management hid this piece of information in PwC’s Report from the media in order to prevent them from asking the necessary questions.

They further indicated that the SSNIT press conference on the OBS project was actuated by malice and was an intellectually dishonest exercise.

According to the lawyers, the PwC final recommendation did not ask for an indictment of anybody but rather recommend further investigation of the issues they raised and that SSNIT should seek legal advice on how to handle the issues with the vendors.



They further posited that the OBS is in a form of a legal contract between the vendors and SSNIT and that the main disagreement is over the interpretation of obligations of the two main parties as PwC stated clearly in their caveat that they have not done a legal review of the contracts and documents they mentioned in their report.

The Caveat is as follows:

This report has been prepared solely for Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for the purpose set out in contract dated 7 August 2017. We do not accept any responsibility for losses occasioned to SSNIT or to any other third party as a result of its circulation, reproduction or use. The benchmarks used by us, including the diagrams, remain the property of, and are proprietary to, PwC. SSNIT is permitted to adapt and use this information for the purposes of improving its operations.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Ghana) Limited has not conducted a legal review of the Agreement and other documents mentioned in this report. Independent legal advice should be obtained if required. We have not carried out a value-for money audit for the purposes of our work.

While the assignment involved a review and analysis of financial information and accounting records, the assignment does not constitute an audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. Accordingly, we assume no responsibility and make no representations with respect to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by Social Security and National Insurance Trust as would have been required under a statutory audit.

The report mentions certain past and present officials of the Trust. As this is a baseline assessment in which we have provided our findings for consideration and further actions as management may determine to be appropriate, we have not interviewed the officials to obtain their comments on any of the findings.