General News of Monday, 17 December 2018
An Accra High Court on Friday ordered the state to produce more documents relating to the Operating Business Suites (OBS) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
According to the court, the first 111 pages of the OBS contract should be made available to the counsel for Ernest Thompson, a former SSNIT boss, who is standing trial with four others for allegedly causing financial loss to the state in respect of an OBS contract.
The court gave the order after Samuel Cujdoe had moved a motion on notice for the production of some missing documents in the OBS contract.
Mr. Cudjoe, in his submission, contended that the documents were not part of what the prosecution had earlier given to the court.
He said the documents, which were missing in the OBS contract, were crucial to the defence of Thompson but the prosecution omitted them.
Defence counsel further held that some of the memos that were provided in court did not also have the necessary attachments.
Mr. Cudjoe said that his client, while in office, saw all those documents and acted on them in relation to the matter before the court.
“We are aware that these documents can easily be provided by the SSNIT through the prosecution. Prosecution should not have any objection because these documents could be obtained from SSNIT and the Public Procurement Agency (PPA),” he said.
Yvonne Atakorah Obuobisah, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in her response, did not oppose the motion. “We will ask that since these documents are not in possession of the prosecution, the order be directed at SSNIT,” Mrs Obuobisah said.
Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, stated that SSNIT was not before him.
The DPP said that it would comply with the order and get the documents from SSNIT for the counsel of the accused. The matter was adjourned to January 23, next year.
Earlier, the state filed 127 documents and a pen drive containing additional documents in a matter involving Mr. Thompson and four others.
The other accused persons are John Hagan Mensah, an Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT and later Operational Business Suit Project Manager, and Juliet Hassana Kramer, Chief Executive Officer of Perfect Business Systems and Silver Lake Structured Service Limited.
The rest are Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, former manager of Management Information System at SSNIT and Peter Hayibor, a General Manager/General Counsel for SSNIT.
They have jointly been charged with 29 counts of conspiracy, willfully causing financial loss to the state and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
They were said to have caused a loss of over $72 million in Operating Business Suite Contract, which sought to provide state-of-the-art pension administration systems.
Mr Afaglo has been additionally charged with defrauding by false pretences, possession of forged documents and authoring of forged documents.
The matter follows investigations into the award of the controversial $72 million Operating Business Suite Contract for the development of a software to help SSNIT in its dealings with the pensioners.
The amount involved in the contract was initially $34 million, but later it was allegedly inflated to the detriment of the state.