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General News Wed, 2 May 2018

SSNIT hid PwC’s caveat on OBS findings – Lawyer

Lawyers for the embattled former Director- General of the Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Mr. Ernest Thompson, say they have stumbled upon new information which exposes the hidden agenda of the current SSNIT Management to destroy the image and hard-won reputation of their client, who has allegedly been indicted for malfeasance in the US$72m SSNIT OBS Software(s) saga.

They contend that although PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) slotted in a Caveat to explain their remit and also the fact that they were to restrict themselves to only a review and analysis of financial information and accounting records, the assignment did not constitute an audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing.

According to the lawyers, SSNIT Board and management hid this piece of information in PwC's Report from the media in order to prevent them from asking the necessary questions.

They further indicated that the SSNIT press conference on the OBS project was actuated by malice and was an intellectually dishonest exercise.

According to the lawyers, the PwC final recommendation did not ask for an indictment of anybody but rather recommend further investigation of the issues they raised and that SSNIT should seek legal advice on how to handle the issues with the vendors.

They posited that the OBS is in a form of a legal contract between the vendors and SSNIT. The main disagreement is over the interpretation of obligations of these two main parties but PwC has however started clearly in their caveat that they have not done a legal review of the contracts and documents they mentioned in their report.

The Caveat is as follows:

This report has been prepared solely for Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for the purpose set out in contract dated 7 August 2017. We do not accept any responsibility for losses occasioned to SSNIT or to any other third party as a result of its circulation, reproduction or use. The benchmarks used by us, including the diagrams, remain the property of, and are proprietary to, PwC. SSNIT is permitted to adapt and use this information for the purposes of improving its operations.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Ghana) Limited has not conducted a legal review of the Agreement and other documents mentioned in this report. Independent legal advice should be obtained if required. We have not carried out a value-for-money audit for the purposes of our work. While the assignment involved a review and analysis of financial information and accounting records, the assignment does not constitute an audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing.

Accordingly, we assume no responsibility and make no representations with respect to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by Social Security and National Insurance Trust as would have been required under a statutory audit.

The report mentions certain past and present officials of the Trust. As this is a baseline assessment in which we have provided our findings for consideration and further actions as management may determine to be appropriate, we have not interviewed the officials to obtain their comments on any of the findings.



Source: Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri
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