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SSNIT OBS saga: Court orders State to release 29 documents to Ernest Thompson, 4 others

The High Court in Accra has ordered the Prosecution to furnish the former Director-General of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and four others with some 29 documents.

This was after the defence lawyers led by Samuel Codjoe moved an application for the production of those documents pursuant to Article 19(2) (e)(g) that would be crucial to their case.

“This is a motion on notice for the production of documents under Article 19(2) (e) and (g) in accordance of practice direction.

While moving the application in terms of the motion paper and accompanying affidavits, he told the court that such documents would be crucial to their defence.

Prosecution led by Principal State Attorney Richard Gyembiby did not oppose the grant of the application.

He assured the court that, the documents would be provided to the accused persons by the next court sitting.

EIB Network’s Court Correspondent Murtala Inusah reports that, the prosecution indicated that, those documents would not be relied on in their case.

The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with an additional responsibility as a High Court judge after listening to the parties ordered for the documents to be released to the accused persons.

“The application filed on November 5, is hereby granted as prayed. The prosecution is ordered to issue to the accused persons documents listed number 1 to 29 on the motion paper,” the ordered.

The production of these documents according to the defence will also help them during the Case Management Conference (CMC).

The case has been adjourned to December 2, 2021 for continuation of CMC.

Background

On October 29, Mr Thompson and two others pleaded not guilty to two amended charges.

The two amended charges are counts 11 and 12 which state “conspiracy to cause financial loss to the Republic” and “wilfully causing financial loss to the Republic” respectively.

The other two are John Hagan Mensah, a former Information Technology Manager at SSNIT and Ms Juliet Hassana Kramer, the Chief Executive Officer of Perfect Business Systems (PBS).

The three together with Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, a former Head of Management Information Systems (MIS) at SSNIT; and Peter Hayibor, the lawyer for SSNIT standing trial for 29 chatges including causing financial loss to the state.

But, all pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 20, 2021.00

The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with an additional responsibility as a High Court judge admitted them to their previous bail conditions.

13 Witnesses

On July 29 sitting, the State served notice it will call 13 witnesses to lead evidence.

The five accused persons all pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 20, 2021.

They have been slapped with a total of 29 including willfully causing financial loss to the state, conspiracy to cause financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretense and contravention of public procurement authority act and authoring of forged documents.

The former DG, Hagan and Ms Kramer have been charged with willfully causing financial loss of more than US$24million to the state.

Afaglo, the Head of MIS was accused of gaining employment at SSNIT with fake certificates while Hayibor, the lawyer, is alleged to have known the alleged illegal transactions concerning the OBS at SSNIT.

Brief facts

The facts of the case according to the prosecution was that, in 2010, SSNIT embarked on the implementation of the OBS to provide state of the art pension administration.

According to the prosecution, the contract sum was around US$34m and SSNIT advertised for bids for the project.

But awarded it to a consortium which included PBS, although PBS did not partake in the bidding

The Prosecution said, Thompson, Juliet and Afaglo caused SSNIT to pay additional money for items which were already covered by the contract.

The project according prosecution ballooned to around $66million.

The former DG according to prosecution made payment which were above his threshold as Director – General of SSNIT.

Afaglo, the prosecution said used fake certificates to gain employment at SSNIT.

Source: Kasapafmonline.com

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