Ghanaian News

SSNIT OBS contract: Court to hear applications on March 22

The trial of Ernest Thompson, former Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Director-General and four others over the Operating Business Suites (OBS) Contract has been adjourned to March 22.

The adjournment was to enable the court presided over by Mr Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as High Court Judge, to hear various applications filed by defence lawyers.

The state led by Mrs Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would respond to the various applications.

Although the various applications filed by the defense counsels were not made known, the court indicated that they were almost the same.
Meanwhile, the State has informed the court that it had provided the additional documents requested by Thompson’s lawyer, Mr Samuel Cudjoe.

According to the DPP, the state on February 12 and 15, this year, filed 90- and 15-pages documents in that regard.

Mrs Attakora- Obuobisa explained that there were a few documents that SSNIT could not produce because they were not in the custody of the Trust.

The DPP said that SSNIT had been advised to officially write to the court over its inability to produce those documents.

She explained that the requirement on the state was to produce all documents that they intend to rely on during the trial adding that “we have brought out all documents in our possession.”

The DPP refuted claims by Mr Cudjoe that the documents that do not emanate from the state’s custody were usually objected by her.

“If defense counsel thinks that he has those documents, he should produce same in court,” she stated.

Mr Cudjoe said he has received two sets of documents from the state adding that “I believe that there some minutes of the board that have not been provided and also they were some letters that were written by the current Director-General of SSNIT in respect of the OBS Contract.

“We are of the view that those documents were crucial to the defense of our case during trial.”

Mr Cudjoe sai,d “it would be absurd for SSNIT to tell us that they did not have minutes of the Trust when his client was in office.”

“SSNIT is a well-structured organization that keeps most of its documents. As I speak we are left with another set of documents which the state is saying that due to the bulky nature of it, they will not be able to photocopy them. SSNIT can be tasked to run the copies for us,” he added.

Mr Mujeeb Rahman Ahmed who represented Mr John Hagan Mensah one of the accused persons lamented over his inability to get the first two sets of documents filed by the state.

Thompson and Mensah, a former Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT and later OBS Project Manager are standing trial with three others.

The rests are Juliet Hassana Kramer, Chief Executive Officer of Perfect Business Systems and Silver Lake Structured Service Limited, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, former Manager of Management Information Systems at SSNIT and Peter Hayibor, a General Manager and Counsel for SSNIT.

The five accused persons have been jointly charged with 29 counts of conspiracy, wilfully causing financial loss to the state and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They are alleged to have caused a loss over 72 million dollars in the OBS Contract which sought to provide state-of-the art pension administration systems.

Afaglo is additionally facing a charge of defrauding by false pretences and possession of forged documents.

The infractions with the law emerged following investigations into awarding of a controversial 72 million dollars OBS Contract for the development of a software to help SSNIT in dealing with pensioners.

The alleged amount involved in the contract was initially 34 million dollars but it was later inflated to the detriment of the state.

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