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General News of Sunday, 22 April 2018


SSNIT saga: Thompson, 3 others charged for causing financial loss to state

Mr. Ernest Thompson and Dr. Caleb Afaglo Mr. Ernest Thompson and Dr. Caleb Afaglo

former Director General (DG) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and three others have been charged with willfully causing financial loss to the state over the controversial Operations Business Suite (OBS) software scandal.

The three others are John Hagan Mensah, former OBS project manager; Caleb Kweku Afaglo, former Head of Information Technology (IT) Department and Chief Executive Officer of Perfect Business Systems (PBS), Juliet Hasana Kramah, who was contracted for the project.

The charge was preferred against them by the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) in its investigative report on the issue, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, Board Chairman of SSNIT, revealed yesterday at a press conference in Accra.

Portions of the report read out by Company Secretary, Gifty Annan, disclosed that the four persons, in addition to one Thomas Sampson Owusu, were initially arrested but were cautioned and charged after investigation.

The contract was signed between the former management of SSNIT and PBS in 2012 at the cost of $34 million.

The software was to help in networking all branches of SSNIT across the country to enable them to receive real-time data directly from the headquarters in Accra and enhance efficiency.

But at the time the project was completed, it was alleged to have ballooned to $66.8 million and GH¢36 million, meaning at the end of the project, an additional $32 million dollars and GH¢36 million was allegedly paid to PBS.

In August last year, the current management of SSNIT filed a complaint to the EOCO to investigate the project following suspicion that the contract had been bloated.

Mr Afaglo was sacked in the course of the investigation for having fake certificates.

The press conference, attended by top management was for the SSNIT to receive a report on the independent review and baseline assessment of the Trust conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The company was contracted on August 7, 2017 to assess the operations of the company for the three year period ended December 31 2016 and the three month period ended March 2017.

The report captured in a 340 page document with five sections, focused on IT, Internal Controls, Human Resource functions effectiveness and its finances.

Dr Addo Kufour said the current management would not allow irregularities to prevail in the Trust and that it would work in the interest of the people and the state.

He noted that the board took over numerous challenges coupled with low level of credibility and hoped that the report would aid the board and management to enhance SSNIT operations and redeem its soiled image.

He said the board and management would cooperate with investigative and law enforcement agencies in the interest of the country as well as reposition the TRUST well.

The DG of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, recounting measures introduced in the past year to save money for SSNIT said transport expenses and sponsorship had been cut down while bills were properly vetted to ensure value for money.

He said as of yesterday, 7,844 ghost names had been removed from the payroll and was saving the country about GH¢3.56 million monthly, adding that “we will continue to tighten the ship.”

Meanwhile the report, amongst others, concluded that the OBS project team did not meet all requirements of the project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract.

It recommended that SSNIT should investigate the issues identified in the report and seek legal redress to pursue the vendor to implement the outstanding modules or refund monies.

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