The Supreme Court has upheld a Court of Appeal decision to dismiss charges brought against former Chief Executive of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, (SSNIT), Mr. Ernest Thompson.
A five-member panel Chaired by Justice Yaw Appau, ruled that criminal charges brought against Mr. Thompson and four others are scanty and therefore do not yield enough materiality to prosecute the accused persons on.
The state had accused Mr. Thompson and the other persons of willfully causing financial loss to the state, conspiring to commit the crime, defrauding by false presence in contravention of the public procurement act and forging documents.
And these charges were in connection with SSNIT’s now scandal-ridden OBS project.
In June 2010, SSNIT had initiated the $34 million project so it would use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to upgrade to a state-of-the-art pensions administration system in the country.
The State had however dragged Mr. Thompson and his alleged conspirators before the High Court and alleged that between September 2013 and September 2016 they had engaged in various illegalities that caused financial loss to the state in relation to the said project.
According to the prosecution, the contract sum of the OBS project ballooned from $34 million to over $66 million on account of these alleged nefarious activities.
The four other accused in the matter are Mr. John Hagan Mensah, a former Information Technology (IT) Manager at SSNIT; Ms Juliet Hassana Kramer, the Chief Executive Officer of Perfect Business Systems (PBS); Mr. Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, a former Head of Management Information Systems (MIS) at SSNIT; and Mr. Peter Hayibor, the lawyer for SSNIT.
They had responded by pointing out that the charges leveled against them were not clear asking the High Court to strike out the case. However, the High Court dismissed their case.
Mr. Thompson responded by appealing at the Appeals Court, which by a 2 – 1 decision, dismissed the High Court’s decision.
The Attorney General then appealed the Appeals Court decision at the apex court. And the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Appeals Court.
The presiding judge, Yaw Apau said the country has gone past the stage where accused persons are surprised by the state, charging the Director of Public prosecution Mrs. Yvonne Atakora Obuobisah, who represented the state to go back and look at the charges and provide enough particulars to them.
Other members of the panel are Justices Agnes M.A. Dordzie, Avril Lovelace-Johnson, Gertrude Torkonoo and Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu.