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Ernest Thompson, Four Others Charged Again By The State Over SSNIT OBS

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Ernest Thompson, a former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has been charged by state prosecutors again; this time, for wilfully causing financial loss to the state in connection with the Operating Business Suite (OBS) contract.

Ernest Thompson, who was appointed at SSNIT under the NDC administration, has been under investigation and prosecution for practically all of the tenure of the Akufo-Addo administration, all to no avail, hence the need to drop the old charges and prefer new ones.

He has been charged together with four others, namely John Hagan Mensah, a former SSNIT Information Technology (IT) Manager; Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, a former SSNIT Head of Management Information Systems (MIS); Peter Hayibor, a former solicitor for SSNIT; and Juliet Hassana Kramer, CEO of Perfect Business Systems (PBS).

It goes without saying that as is custom in Ghanaian politics, they were all replaced when the incumbent Akufo-Addo administration won power in December 2016.

The accused persons have been charged with the loss of over $14.8 million, conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretence in contravention of the Public Procurement Act and authoring of forged documents, but they have pleaded not guilty.

The Attorney-General (AG) in a petition filed at an Accra High Court amended the charge sheet to conform to a ruling by the Supreme Court on March 17 that the charges preferred against Ernest Thompson and four others by the State were inappropriate and did not meet constitutional requirements.

Richard Gyimbibi, a Principal State Attorney, on Thursday, April 22, informed the Court that the amended charge sheets were filed on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

Thompson and three of the accused; Mensah, Hayibor and Kramer are those facing the willfully causing financial loss to the state charge, whilst Afaglo is facing charges relating to the authoring of forged documents and possession of forged documents.

The new case will be heard from Thursday, May 20.

Background:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 17, discharged former Director-General of SSNIT, Ernest Thompson, together with four others, describing the charges levelled against them as inappropriate.

The former Director-General and his team were accused of causing a financial loss of more than $14.8 million in the purchase of the SSNIT Operational Business Suite (OBS) project. The five are charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the state, conspiracy to commit the crime, defrauding by false pretences in contravention of the public procurement act and authoring of forged documents.

They have, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Delivering a unanimous 5-Member Panel judgment, President of the Court, Justice Yaw Appau said the charges preferred against the accused persons did not meet the constitutional requirements of a free and fair trial as provided for under article 19 and Section 122 of the Criminal Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30).

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