A former Chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Professor Joshua Alabi has challenged the government to either terminate SSNIT’s digitization contract or stop hounding former management members of the Trust over the cost of the project.
“Why are not telling the current board to terminate the contract. Now they are in the driving seat, let them work and stop this smearing thing. When I left it was $66 million, after a while, you said it shot up to $72 million now you said its $147 million.”
“Why won’t you terminate the contract now. This is the time you will push the current board to perform. Maybe next year it will get to $200 million,” he said.
Four persons, including the former Director-General of SSNIT, Ernest Thompson, according to the SSNIT Board, have been charged for allegedly causing financial loss to the state following the Economic and Organised Crimes Office’s (EOCO) investigations into digitization scandal. SSNIT under Mr. Thompson embarked on a digitization drive and secured an Operational Business Suite (OBS), which has been described as unreasonably expensive.
Contract sum goes up
The initial contract sum which was $38 million [$38,618,588.00] was awarded to Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium, but some modifications supposedly bloated the amount astronomically.
An audit by PwC revealed that the project sum had hit $147 million from $72 million.
The audit report also said the management of SSNIT which undertook the project poorly monitored it leading to the loss of vast sums of money.
Despite injecting such amount, the report by PwC stated that the project in its current state has some core modules not fully functional.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen on Monday, Prof. Alabi insisted that his board could not be blamed because they were not privy to information on the deal.
“The board only gets to know when they [management] takes the thing to the Procurement [Authority], and they approve a budget for them, and they [management] put it in the budget. The board does not involve itself in the day to day management of the place. The board takes decisions on the information given to it. By the time we got the information, we had queried. So come and continue and don’t be destroying people’s names like that,” he said.
PwC did not invite me
On the PwC report, Prof Alabi said he was not invited but said he was invited by EOCO.
“PwC never invited me. I went to EOCO. When I went there, they said I am very honest and truthful. When I was leaving there, it was $66milion. The PwC report is saying that management didn’t give the board some information. The report is also saying that the board queried management. It also said the board under me asked for an audit into that project. It also said that that the board asked for an audit on November 24, 2016.”
“So what the PwC report should have said that when the board asked for an audit in November 2016, having lost the election on December 7, when normally after you lose you now package to hand over, the current board should have continued. You are not pushing the current board to perform, maybe because they are in power. Don’t do it in a way that when next government comes, then they will be held accountable. We left January 6, so it was incumbent on the current board to have continued from where we left.”
PwC rushed with the report
Prof. Alabi said PwC might have rushed with the report.
I think that the PwC report, they may have rushed. They should have taken their time. They did not invite management that is not fair.