General News of Monday, 14 May 2018
A former Board Chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Professor Joshua Alabi has distanced his board from the controversial $72m Operational Business Suite (OBS) contract awarded by the Trust.
According to Prof. Alabi, his board took over after the contract had already been signed by the previous board. He added that he saw nothing wrong with the contract because it had a purpose to serve and would have benefited SSNIT.
“The OBS contract was awarded by the previous board and I cannot blame them much because the system would have helped SSNIT,” Prof. Alabi told Morning Starr host Francis Abban adding “…The SSNIT Board doesn’t control funds. I have not even seen a SSNIT cheque before. As a SSNIT Board Chairman, the allowance that was given me couldn’t even change a car tyre.”
Prof. Alabi added that his board commissioned an audit into the contract when they noticed that there was overspending in the acquisition of the infamous software.
The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra noted that the board only approved the budget for the contract which management had already submitted to the Procurement Authority for approval.
SSNIT settled on a tender that quoted $72 million for the software that is supposed to automate all the core processes in the administration of pension, although it received tenders to undertake the project at much cheaper prices including $9 million.
A tender price of $27,610,792 was initially quoted, but Perfect Business Systems and Silver lake Consortium, the bid winners reviewed to 34, 011,914.21 after the General Services Manager of SSNIT identified arithmetic errors in the tender.
This figure was many times more than what Persol Systems’ – about $4million. Sambus Company Limited presented the second least bid price, $9.8 million.
After the deal between SSNIT and Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium was sealed in 2012, the cost of the project increased by about $32million.
The exponential addition was attributed to the procurement of additional equipment including servers and flash drives and headsets.
After investigations, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) cited Former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, Ernest Thompson and three others for causing financial loss to the state in the award of the contract.
The other three are former Head of IT Department, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo; former OBS project manager; John Hagan Mensah and Juliet Hasana Kramah of IT company, Perfect Business Systems.