State to refile witness statements in SSNIT OBS Project scandal

The Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Yvonne Atakorah Obuobisa, has prayed an Accra High Court for some days to refile witness statements in the SSNIT $66 million Operational Business Suit (OBS) project case.

She said: “In view of the fact that we have filed new charge sheet, we pray the court for two to three weeks to refile our witness statements.”

“As soon as witness statements are filed we will call them (lawyers).”

Mr Abednego Tetteh Mensah, one of the lawyers for Mr Ernest Thompson, former Director General of SSNIT, said they had been informed of the State’s submission and agreed on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Defence Counsels of the accused persons prayed for a catalogue of the other documents filed by the State.

Lawyers of the accused persons asked that the State should also ensure that defence teams were served with all witness statements.

The Court, presided over by Justice Henry Kwofie, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, adjourned the matter to Thursday, June 17.

The five persons are being held by the State over the $66m SSNIT Operational Business Suite project, which was meant to revamp the operations of SSNIT through Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

They were initially dragged to court in July 2018, but the trial was put on hold following a legal tussle over the charges, which culminated in a ruling by the Supreme Court that 10 of the 29 charges relating to wilfully causing financial loss were defective and same did not have sufficient particulars as required by the 1992 Constitution.

Based on the ruling of the apex court of the land, the Attorney-General (A-G) hauled the accused persons before the High Court again after amending the charge sheet to include sufficient particulars.

Thompson is standing trial with four other accused persons: John Hagan Mensah, a former IT Manager at SSNIT; Juliet Hassana Kramer, the CEO of Perfect Business Systems; Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, a former Head of Management Information Systems (MIS) at SSNIT, and Peter Hayibor, the lawyer for SSNIT.

They have pleaded not guilty to 29 charges, including various counts of conspiracy to wilfully cause financial loss to the State and wilfully causing financial loss to the State to the tune of $15.3 million.

Thompson and Kramer separately pleaded not guilty to three counts of contravening the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), while Kramer and Afaglo also pleaded not guilty to defrauding by false pretence.

Afaglo is alleged to have secured his employment at SSNIT with fake certificates and was accordingly charged with various counts of possession of forged documents and uttering forged documents.

Source: GNA

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