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AG RE-FILING WITNESS STATEMENT IN EX-SSNIT BOSS CASE

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The Office of the Attorney General has told an Accra High Court that it intends to re-file statements of the witnesses it will rely on for the trial of former Director General of Social Security and National Insurance Trust Fund (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, and four others arraigned for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.

Mr. Thompson together with three other former employees of SSNIT, as well as a private businesswoman are on trial over the roles they allegedly played in the Operational Business Suite (OBS) contract entered into by SSNIT between 2011 and 2017.

Appearing before the court yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs. Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, stated that in view of the fact that the prosecution had to file a new charge sheet in the matter, they were going to re-file their witness statements.

She said they were in the process of filing the right statements and prayed the court to give them ‘two to three weeks’ to enable them re-file the witness statements and serve them on the accused persons.

The court, presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a court of appeal judge sitting as an additional high court judge, therefore adjourned the case to June 17, 2021.

Main Trial

Apart from the ex-SSNIT Boss, then General Manager of Management Information Systems at SSNIT, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, then General Counsel of SSNIT, Peter Hayibor, as well as John Hagan Mensah, Information Technology Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT, and Juliet Hassana Kramer are on trial.

The five are facing 29 counts of conspiracy, willfully causing financial loss to the Republic, defrauding by false pretences as well as the contravention of Public Procurement Act contrary to Section 92(2)(a) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).

The charges generally related to payments made under the Operational Business Suite project, which the prosecution said had already been paid for under the controversial OBS contract.

Detailed Charges

Per the new charges as signed bythe DPP, the ex-SSNIT Boss Ernest Thompson, John Hagan Mensah, Juliet Hassana Kramer and Caleb Afaglo have been charged with 18 counts of willfully causing financial loss of $14,803,299.5 to the state between September 2013 and April 2016.

The charge sheet indicated that Ernest Thompson, John Hagan Mensah, Juliet Hassana Kramer and Caleb Afaglo between December 2015 and April 2016 caused a financial loss of $5,465,909.14 to the state by causing payment to be made under “Change Order 7 for the purchase of IBM advanced hardware (2 Enterprise Class IBM Power8 E870, 2 Clustered V9000 flash systems, 1 V9000 system for disaster) recovery for Operational Business Suite project when same had already been paid under the Operational Business Suite Contract.”

Mr. Thompson, Mrs. Kramer and Peter Hayibor are also facing a charge of willfully causing a financial loss of $5,141,905.66 to the state by back-dating the warranty and Service Level Agreement of the Operational Business Suite project between January and September 2016.

Again, Ernest Thompson, John Hagan Mensah and Juliet Hassana Kramer have been accused of willfully causing financial loss of $2,292,048.23 to the state when they caused payment to be made “under Change Order 2 for the upgrade of hardware for the Operational Business Suite project when same had already been paid under the Operational Business Suite contract.”

Change of Order

The three have also been accused of having between October 2013 and April 2014 causing financial loss of $1,079,334 to the state when they caused payments to be made under “Change Order 3 for digitisation of existing member records for the Operational Business Suite project when same had been already paid under the Operational Business Suite Contract.”

Further charges indicate that Mr. Thompson, Mr. Mensah and Mrs. Kramer between June 2014 and January 2015, willfully caused financial loss of $100,895.70 to the state by causing payment to be made on invoice presented by Mrs. Kramer for the procurement of hardware related to member registration and re-registration exercises for the Operational Business Suite project when same had already been paid for under the Operational Business Suite Contract.

The three again are accused of having between August 2015 and September 2015 willfully causing financial loss of $502,227.00 to the state by causing payments to be made on invoice presented by Mrs. Kramer under Change Order B for the supply and installation of 45 Fujitsu Fi-6770 and Fi-6800 scanners for the Operational Business Suite project when same had already been paid for under the Operational Business Suite contract.

Perfect Business System

Juliet Hassana Kramer is also facing charges of having between October 2011 and May 2017 defrauding SSNIT of the sum of $66,783,148.08 under a contract to Perfect Business Systems (PBS) Limited, a non-existent company, and Silverlake Structured Services by representing that she was the Chief Executive Officer of PBS and Silverlake, authorised to sign on behalf of Silverlake, the tenderer of the OBS contract.

Mr. Thompson is also facing a charge of contravening the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) Act by approving the sum of $9,536,652.50 for “Change Request for the Operational Business Suite Project, an amount which is above the threshold of the head of the entity.”

Forged Certificate

Caleb Afaglo is facing charges of possession and altering of forged Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies from Georgia Institute of Technology.

-DOG Online

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