The legal team of embattled former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, has accused the current management of churning out falsehood and portraying their client “as a criminal”.
The team said reports that their client was arrested over the SSNIT software scandal was also false.
SSNIT recently held a press conference to make some allegations against the immediate past Director-General and the Board.
At the press conference, details of an audit, and investigative reports by Pricewaterhouse and EOCO were made available to the media in which Mr. Thompson and the then Board Chair, Prof. Joshua Alabi, were accused of widespread impropriety.
Prof Alabi was cited in the report as having failed to ensure accountability in the project whose cost increased by over 400%.
The managers also made reference to an Economic and Organised Crime Office investigations in which they claimed Mr. Thompson and three others have been charged with causing financial loss to the state in the award of a $72million Operating Business Suite (OBS) 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.
However, in a press release signed by the solicitor for Mr. Ernest Thompson, A. Tetteh Mensah said: “There was a deliberate attempt to not only read, but to instruct the media present to report a falsehood, that our client and others were arrested and cautioned.
“Let us categorically state that EOCO was the investigating body and SSNIT has never investigated our client and is therefore in no position to tell the media the outcome of the investigations conducted by EOCO”.
“This obviously underscores the whole mischief behind the Press Conference and the avowed unprecedented hatred for our client, especially as the use of such a criminal word like ‘arrest’ would obviously portray our client as a criminal”, the statement said.
Unaware of PWC Audit
They also denied any knowledge of an audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers Ghana (PWC) which is believed to have indicted their client, along with three others, leading to their reported arrest.
“Our client is unaware of any investigation or audit undertaken by PriceWaterHouse. We say this on authority because it would seem strange to us that an audit or investigation could be conducted over a period of several months and a report released without any hearing given to our client by PWC to state his side of the case. PWC never met our client before finalising its report,” the release said.
“It is one of the cardinal principles of law that no one can be condemned without a hearing and no matter the scope of an investigation and notwithstanding any other investigations being conducted by different bodies, our client and other persons who may be affected by the outcome of an audit must be given hearing on the issue by the Auditors,” it added.
The current management of SSNIT was also accused in the press release of playing politics with the investigations by releasing information to “selected” media houses while ignoring queries from journalists.
“At the said Press Conference, the SSNIT team even refused entry to some media houses, amidst protests, and only allowed its own selected and preferred media houses and personalities to enter the room.
“It is thus obvious and crystal clear that the SSNIT management has decided to do politics and in the process, has adopted as its weapons, persecution and victimization of our client and ignored the truth, evidence and facts surrounding this OBS project. They were not even prepared to be asked pertinent questions from media men they considered unfriendly to their cause, by preventing them entry,” the statement added.
Thompson, Others Not Charged
Meanwhile the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, says her office has not officially charged any of the four who have been implicated in the award of controversial $72 million Operating Business Suite (OBS) contract by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
She said her department is currently studying the docket of the case brought by the Economic and Organised Crimes Unit (EOCO) which initially investigated the accused persons.
Speaking on Accra-based Oman FM, the Attorney-General said her department has commenced its own investigations into the OBS contract.
Until she is done with her investigations, she said none of the four accused persons could be charged.
“EOCO has been investigating the matter and a docket has been brought to my office, we are still going through the docket before we can proffer charges against the individuals. “We are collaborating with EOCO in investigations and we have met with internal auditors, the procurement authorities and several other bodies that can help us in the matter”, Ms Akuffo said in Twi dialect.