$72 Million Scandal:No Charges Yet-AG

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, says her office has not officially charged any of the four who have been implicated in the award of controversial $72 million Operating Business Suite (OBS) contract by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

She said her department is currently studying the docket of the case brought by the Economic and Organised Crimes Unit (EOCO) which initially investigated the accused persons.

Mr. Ernest Thompson, the immediate past Director-General, and the three others have been indicted in an investigative report by EOCO, which cited them for causing financial loss to the state.

The other three are former Head of MIT Department, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo; former OBS project Manager; John Hagan Mensah and Juliet Has

ana Kramah of IT company, Perfect Business Systems which executed the contract.

Ernest Thompson

At a news conference Wednesday to submit the PwC report to the Board and management of SSNIT, the Company Secretary, Mrs. Gifty Annan, announced the four have been cautioned and are to face prosecution for willfully causing financial loss to the state.

The automation project which was initially intended to cost $38 million shot up to $147 million, Mrs. Annan disclosed.

Watch: Ernest Thompson, 3 others charged with causing financial loss to the state

Speaking on Accra-based Oman FM, however, the Attorney-General said her department has also commenced its own investigations into the OBS contract. Until she is done with her investigations, none of the four accused persons can be charged, she said.

EOCO has been investigating the matter and a docket has been brought to my office, we are still going through the docket before we can proffer charges against the individuals. We are collaborating with EOCO in investigations and we have met with internal auditors, the procurement authorities and several other bodies that can help us in the matter, Ms Akuffo said in Twi dialect.

She explained further: In our meeting with stakeholders we have requested for documents that can help us in our probe including the audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The four former SSNIT officials have not been officially charged with any crimes. EOCO has however made them write charge statements which will help them with their investigations. After we look at the dockets, charges can then be brought against the former officials.

Meanwhile, the former Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is accusing management of ignoring the truth and deploying weapons of persecution and victimization against him.

In a statement issued Thursday, lawyers of Mr Thompson also accused SSNIT of organizing a “needless press conference” to churn out half-truths and criminalize their client.

“The usual mantra of the management led by the Director-General has been the spurious allegation intended to deceive the public that the original contract price of $34million escalated to $72million without explaining how or what brought about the price escalation, which should actually be the crux of the matter,” the lawyers said.

News Reporter

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