SSNIT management is victimizing me because of politics - Ernest Thompson
Lawyers for indicted former SSNIT Director-General, Mr Ernest Thompson have accused management of the state pension trust of victimizing him.
Baako Apem Chambers, the solicitors, say given that the US$72 million contract to procure the controversial Operational Business Suite (OBS) which has been the subject of criminal investigation was awarded before his appointment, there can be no other conclusion.
In a statement signed by the solicitor for Thompson, A. Tetteh Mensah described the press conference held Wednesday by current SSNIT officials as "needless" given that they were not the authors of the said report.
The statement said Mr Thompson was advised to adopt the approach of dignified silence as his response and cooperated with the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) to undertake its investigations unhindered and submit their report.
It also denied that Mr Thompson was arrested and cautioned by the Police over the matter.
"Curiously we have a situation that, at a needless press conference, the SSNIT management turns itself into spokespersons for EOCO and the office of the Attorney General to allegedly release the outcome of investigations which was solely conducted by EOCO," the statement said.
The statement also alleged that the SSNIT team refused entry to some media houses, amidst protest, and only allowed its own selected and preferred media houses and personalities to enter the room.
Increase of OBS software cost from $34million to $72million
The statement also provided two instances which it claimed led to the escalation of the cost of the software which had nothing to do with criminality.
It said the cost of $34 million was for the provision of only 400,000 cards and it rose to $72 million because SSNIT has about 3 million cards in circulation.
Mr Thomson's lawyers also claim that the original scoping of the contract provided for only five kiosks whereas SSNIT has 54 branch offices throughout the country which all needed the kiosks to enable the contributors to access any information required.
"In the original scoping of the contract requirement that put the contract sum at $34million, provision was made for only 400,000 cards. Meanwhile, SSNIT has a contributor population of over 3million".
"Again the scoping provided for only five (5) kiosks (the machines that look like ATM machines of the banks) whereas SSNIT has about 54 branch offices throughout the country each needed to be provided with the kiosks to enable the contributors to access any information required.
The statement also indicates that the OBS issue involves the interpretation of the contract signed by SSNIT and the vendors, which took place before Mr Thompson was appointed as the Director-General.
Finally, it disclosed that Mr Thompson was not interrogated by PricewaterhouseCoopers during an alleged audit report that claims to have indicted their client in the OBS software issue.
The Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) yesterday indicted four persons - Mr Thompson, Mrs Juliet Hasana Krama, the CEO of Perfect Business Systems, Mr John Hagan Mensah, former SSNIT OBS Project Manager and Mr Caleb Afaglo, a former GM in charge of Management Information Systems at SSNIT for willfully causing financial loss to the state in acquiring the said software.