A former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, has filed an appeal against the decision of an Accra High Court to dismiss his application seeking to avoid trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.
Mr. Thompson and two other accused persons in the case had filed separate applications before the court to strike out charges against them or in the alternative make an order directed at the Attorney General’s Department to provide them with details of the charges against them.
The court, presided over by Justice Henry Kwofie, on April 17, dismissed the applications. The dismissal meant that all the 29 charges, including causing financial loss to the state, still hold.
But lawyers for Mr. Thompson have proceeded to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the High Court to dismiss the application.
The lawyers have subsequently filed a stay of proceedings in the pre-trial pending the determination of the appeal. The High Court, presided over by Justice Kwofie, has set May 21 to rule on the application for stay of proceedings.
Apart from Mr. Thompson, John Hagan Mensah, Information Technology Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT and private businesswoman Juliet Hassana Krama, CEO of Perfect Business Solutions (PBS) Limited, both filed separate motions praying the court to drop the charges against them.
The separate motions were moved on March 22, 2019 and the lawyers argued that the charges against their clients were unconstitutional, as they breached Articles 19(2) (d) and (11) of the Constitution.
They also averred that the charges did not contain detailed particulars required by Section 112 (1) of Act 30.
The prosecution, led by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, opposed the motions and argued that the lawyers were re-arguing issues that had already been determined by the Supreme Court in respect of other cases.
In his ruling, Justice Kwofie of the Court of Appeal, sitting as additional High Court judge, dismissed the applications, saying the issues raised by the accused persons had already been determined by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
He held that the charges levelled against the accused persons contained particulars necessary to give the applicants reasonable information as to the nature of the charges preferred against them.
The court also ruled that to accede to the request of the lawyers would amount to compelling the prosecution to provide evidence in the charge sheet.
Mr. Thompson and three former management members of SSNIT and a private businesswoman have been accused of causing financial loss to the state in the award of the controversial and failed $72 million IT project – Operational Business Suite (OBS).
Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, General Manager of Management Information Systems at SSNIT and Peter Hayibor, General Counsel of SSNIT, are the other accused persons.
They have been accused of inflating the contract sum of the OBS from $34,011,914.21 to $66,783,148.08 through what are termed variously as ‘change orders’ and ‘variations.’
The five accused persons are facing a total of 29 charges, including conspiracy to commit crime, causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretenses, contravention of the Public Procurement Authority Act, as well as possession and authoring of forged documents.
The state has so far filed a total of 232 documents and flash drives which it intends to rely on for the trial.
Source: Daily Guide