Lawyers for embattled former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, have accused the current management of the state pension scheme of victimising their client at the expense of the truth in connection with the procurement of an IT Software costing $72 million.
Mr Thompson and three others have been indicted for causing financial loss to the state in connection with the procurement of the software.
However, a statement signed by A. Tetteh Mensah from Baako Apem Chambers said their client has cooperated with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) since they began probing the issue in April 2017 and therefore wondered why “SSNIT management turns itself into spokesperson for EOCO and the office of the Attorney General to allegedly release the outcome of investigations which was solely conducted by EOCO.”
The statement noted that it is clear that management of SSNIT have decided to do politics and in the process have adopted as its weapons “persecution and victimisation” of their client and ignored the truth, evidence and facts surrounding the OBS project.
According to the statement, management of SSNIT during its press conference were not even prepared to be asked pertinent questions from media men they considered unfriendly to their cause, by preventing some of them entry.
The statement noted that “the management of SSNIT which claims to be the complainant in this matter continue to persecute our client in the print and electronic media with press conferences and releases at the least opportunity without any regard to the evidence and the facts adduced before the investigators at EOCO.
“The usual mantra of the management led by the Director General has been the spurious allegation intended to deceive the public that the original contract price of $34million escalated to $72million without explaining how or what brought about the price escalation, which should actually be the crux of the matter.
“We wish therefore to provide to the unsuspecting public just two instances that occasioned or led to the price escalation which had nothing to do with criminality.
A. In the original scoping for the contract requirement that puts the contract sum at $34million, provision was made for only 400,000 cards. Meanwhile SSNIT has a contributor population of over three million.
B. Again the scoping provided for only five kiosks (the machine that looks like the 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.
“From the above therefore the purchases for additional cards of over two million and 50 kiosks in furtherance of the effective management of the project would justifiably be in the right direction which would lead also to contract price escalation automatically.”
Mr Thompson’s lawyers noted EOCO was the investigating body and SSNIT has never investigated their client and was therefore in no position to tell the media at the press conference the outcome of the investigations conducted by EOCO.
“Even though we are of the firm belief that our client while in public office did not criminally misconduct himself, we still assure the public that we shall cooperate fully with all credible state institutions handling this matter,” the statement added.