The Office of the Attorney General has filed additional 105 documents as part of ‘disclosures’ in the trial of the of former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and four other persons charged with causing financial loss to the state.This follows a request by Samuel Codjoe, lawyer for the former SSNIT boss to the AG to file the documents as he said they are crucial in defending his client.
The AG had already filed 127 documents and pen drives with documents on January 23, 2019 which it intends to rely on for the trial of the five accused persons before a second request from defense counsel came in.
The new documents which were filed at the registry of the criminal division of the Accra High Court on February 12 and 15, 2019 included minutes of the Operational Business Suite (OPS) committee of SSNIT as well as other documents requested by the defense counsel.
Appearing before the court yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa stated that her office has ‘substantially’ supplied the court and the accused persons with the documents requested.
She, however, indicated that there are “very few documents left to be served the accused persons,” saying “In our communication with SSNIT, they told us they cannot trace what is left. They don’t have any such documents in their possession so we have asked them to write that officially so that it can be filed.”
Mr. Codjoe confirmed to the court that he had received the documents requested but some 29 other documents were outstanding.
The trial judge, Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Court of Appeal Judge then asked Mr. Codjoe if he had any of those documents in his possession but the lawyer said he would have to check with his client.
He said it is crucial for those documents to be disclosed due to precedents in the trial of Dr. Stephen Opuni and former Board Chairman of National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others where the DPP objects to documents brought from “other sources”.
But the DPP took exception to the comment, saying “the requirement on us is to file and disclose all documents the prosecution intends to rely on for the conduct of the case. We have filed all the documents that we intend to rely on for the trial”.
Meanwhile, three defense counsels have filed undisclosed applications in the case which would be moved on March 22, 2019.
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).
The other accused persons are John Hagan Mensah, Information Technology Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT, Juliet Hassana Krama, CEO of Perfect Business Solutions (PBS) Limited, the operator of the OBS, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, General Manager of Management Information Systems at SSNIT and Peter Hayibor, General Counsel of SSNIT.
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.