Ernest Thompson

The former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is accusing the current management of ignoring the truth and deploying weapons of persecution and victimization against him.

In a release issued Thursday, lawyers of Ernest Thompson also accused SSNIT of organizing a “needless press conference” to churn out half-truths and criminalize their client.

Having adopted a principle of “dignified silence” over the entire period of the Operational Business suit scandal which broke last year, the lawyers say they have found it necessary to break the silence because SSNIT is championing a negative campaign against their client.

The response comes a day after the Management and Board of SSNIT held a press conference in which some damning allegations were made against the immediate past Director-General and the Board of SSNIT.

At the press conference, details of an audit, and investigative reports by Pricewaterhouse and EOCO were made available to the media in which Mr Ernest Thompson and the 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 Ernest 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.

Five persons were initially picked up by the police including one Thomas Samson Owusu but four have been cautioned and are to face prosecution for willfully causing financial loss to the state, aspects of a report by EOCO, reveal.

But lawyers of Ernest Thompson are not impressed with the revelations at the press conference.

In a six-page statement issued and signed by A. Tetteh Mensah, the lawyers say the attempt by SSNIT to impugn criminality to the inflation of the contract price of the OBS project is disingenuous.

“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,” the lawyers said.

They argued the original scope of the contract with the value of $34 million was to manage only 400,000 contributors when in fact the total SSNIT contributor population was 3 million.

“Again the scoping provided for only five (5) kiosks (the machines that look 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,” the statement added.

Ernest Thompson and his lawyers also expressed surprise at an audit report purported to have been conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The lawyers insist, their client was never contacted by PwC in their entire process of audit and investigation.

“Our client is unaware of any investigation or audit undertaken by Price Water House. We say this on authority because it would seem strange to us that an audit or investigations 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 finalizing its report,” the lawyers argued.

They have threatened to take legal action against persons or institutions whose conduct, report and comments may tarnish the reputation of their client.

-Myjoyonline

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