Ex-SSNIT Boss, 4 Others’ Case Back On

Ernest Thompson

The trial of former Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT),
Ernest Thompson and four others, who have been accused of causing financial
loss to the state, is set to continue on June 11.

This follows the dismissal of
applications filed separately by the accused persons to put the trial on hold
pending the determination of an appeal against an earlier application by the
same persons.

The first application was praying the
court to drop the charges preferred against the ex-SSNIT boss and two others or
in the alternative make an order directed at the Attorney General’s Department
to provide them with details of the charges against them.

The application was dismissed by the
presiding judge, Justice Anthony Kwofie of the Court of Appeal because the
charges levelled against the accused persons contained particulars necessary to
give them reasonable information as to the nature of the charges preferred
against them.

Not satisfied with the decision, their
lawyers filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the High
Court.

They subsequently filed another
application seeking to stay the trial at the High Court until the verdict of
the Court of Appeal.

Apart from Mr. Thompson, John Hagan
Mensah, Information Technology Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT and private
business woman Juliet Hassana Krama, CEO of Perfect Business Solutions (PBS)
Limited, all filed separate motions praying the court to stay its proceedings
pending the determination of the appeal.

Defence
Lawyers

The defence lawyers, in moving their
separate applications, urged the court to stay its proceedings, as their
clients would suffer ‘substantial injustice’ if the trial continued while the
appeal was pending.

They contended that should the appeal
succeed, their clients stand a chance of the charges against them being
dropped, and also they stand to suffer an imminent danger of having their
fundamental human rights and liberties irretrievably violated.

Opposition

Stella Ohene Appiah, a Senior State Attorney,
who opposed the applications, argued that the actions of the accused person
were ‘moot’ because the matter had already been decided by both the Court of
Appeal and the Supreme Court.

She stated that there is no
compelling reason why the court should stay its proceedings for an exercise being
carried out in futility.

After hearing the arguments, the
judge dismissed the applications, saying the counsel for the three accused
persons had not demonstrated any special circumstances to warrant a stay of the
proceedings.

He adjourned the matter to June 11
for the trial to commence.

Trial

Mr. Thompson and three former
management members of SSNIT and a private business woman have been accused of
causing financial loss to the state in the award of the controversial and
failed $72 million IT project – Operational Business Suite (OBS).

Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, General Manager
of Management Information Systems at SSNIT and Peter Hayibor, General Counsel
of SSNIT, are the other accused persons.

They have been accused of inflating the contract sum of the OBS from $34,011,914.21 to $66,783,148.08 through what are termed variously as ‘change orders’ and ‘variations.’

By Gibril Abdul Razak



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