Former SSNIT Board member Prof Joshua Alabi has revealed, the former Director-General of the Trust Ernest Thompson spent $34m in additional cost on the controversial ICT contract without prior approval of the board.

He said the expenditure items came to the attention of the Board after the funds for the procurement of several high-tech software and hardware had already been released.

Sections of the public are astonished that managers of pension funds would implement a project to automate manual procedures at SSNIT at a cost of over $72million.

What began as a $32million contract ballooned to $66 million and later to $72million in the course of four years from 2012 to 2016. Despite huge investments into the turn-key project, the ICT infrastructure is said to be malfunctioning raising serious concerns over value for money, due diligence and what a lawyer has said constitutes grounds for prosecution.

Former UPSA Rector who was part of the last board before a change in government in January has come out to explain in a statement the circumstances surrounding the contract.

Alabi who is said to be nursing ambitions to contest in the NDC presidential primaries said the then Director-General Ernest Thompson was queried by the dissatisfied Board on the fresh cost after management brought the bill to the Board for ratification.

Prof Alabi said there are minutes to show, the Board warned Ernest Thompson-led Management never to spend without seeking approval from the board. He also said the Board could not cancel the contract without potential judgment debt implications.

The NDC man also explained following revelations of the cost-implications of the project, the Board ordered a value-for-money-audit into the operations of SSNIT late 2016.

But the Board did not survive the change in government to see the audit start under its watch. The NPP government which took over, appointed a new Director-General and Board which has initiated the audit.

Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has also questioned five SSNIT staff about the ICT project.

Prof. Alabi also expressed disappointment in some NDC party faithful who are rejoicing that his name has been linked to the SSNIT saga.

He wondered “why a dog would bite a dog in the same family”.

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August 23rd 2017: A Day in the Looking Glass Prof. Joshua Alabi Today 23rd August 2017 started as a regular day for me. As I woke up preparing to start my day, my phone bell rang. It was an unknown number. As I reached to the phone, a media person introduced herself and asked whether that was Prof. Joshua Alabi?

Then she went on to announce that she wanted to talk to me about the software issue that had come up at SSNIT, which was already trending on social media and the media in general.

As it later turned out, the discussions on the social media had been fuelled and spinned on some NDC platforms. I begun to wonder, and ponder over the Dilemmas and predicaments of leaders in public service. First I wondered and became quite concerned for our party considering the position and allusions from some party members on some NDC platforms.

I wondered why dog would bite dog in the same family. I could only imagine that very soon, when the missiles begin to fly from without, members of our cherished party fraternity will spin, rock and roll at the joy of seeing others being pursued, whether rightfully or wrongfully. But hey, my advice, just know that the target is the party and not the individuals. As I reflected on the facts of the SNNIT case in question, I smiled, not in self-pity but at the ignorance of the celebrants.

Facts of the SSNIT-Operations Digitization Case

In the SSNIT case in question, on the matter of Software and Hardware acquisition and installation, which also includes computerisation of all existing files, a Biometric System and Consultancy fees; the contract was awarded in 2012 before the tenure of our Board, which started in 2013. I (Joshua Alabi) was therefore not the Board chairman at the time the contract was awarded, yet hunters seeking to pursue innocent public servants like me, jubilate in chronic (incurable) ignorance at the news of mere speculations of falsehood. The contract in question had been awarded by the previous Board and operationalized before our Board took over.

It is unfortunate, to expect that a contract, which has been awarded and was being implemented, for which earlier payments have been done before our Board took over would be discontinued, a phenomenon, which only reflects lack of management maturity and sensibility, a trend creeping into and becoming entrenched in Ghanaian political leadership and governance. Such actions could incur judgment debt We live in a country where sadly, usually a new government simply flags the poster high “New Team Holy”; “Past Team Thieves. Oh, where is our democracy heading?

It is worth noting that during the course of our Board’s, fiduciary duties, the Board expressed dissatisfaction, when management brought before the Board for ratification, an amount spent on variation to the contract in question, indicating that management should have sought approval from the Board before spending. Before ratifying, the Board queried and warned management never to spend without approval, as evidenced in the Board minutes of the time.

The Board in its draft budget for 2017 therefore made an allocation for such eventualities but that budget line was not spent. The board further approved Value for Money Audit on all SSNIT projects, which was yet to commence. The current SSNIT Board has just commenced similar investigation into the SNNIT digital Operationalization project (OBS project) and the former Board have been sentenced already.

As I got immersed in the sea of media interviews and rebuttals, I only realised that the entire day has been spent. Just as I was getting ready to take super around 6:00 pm and reflect over the day, my phone bell rang again. This time, it was my elder brother. Immediately, I thought it was a follow-up to the media stir. But no, I was mistaking. This time, to my uttermost surprise, he sorrowfully announced the sudden demise of my immediate elder sister, the one I follow immediately.

Indeed, 23rd August 2017 is one of the days in life that clearly screams aloud, you never can tell what each day brings. This is certainly one of the days that require courage in life. Courage indeed does not ensue by being deeply loved by someone, which gives you strength, rather loving someone deeply gives you courage.” “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts (n.d).”

Indeed another song has been sung but the last note has not been played. Another tear has fallen, starring deeply through the night. Even though tonight seems darker, the stars are just as bright, and like sand through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives ( reworded A.J. Jaskowiak’s poem). I wish to thank my colleagues on the SSNIT Board at the time for their diligence and these include:

1. Mr K D Boateng ( former DG GHAPOHA) Govt Rep. Member

2. Mr Regina Atsutsey (Lecturer GIMPA). Govt Rep. Member

3. Hon Mrs Mona Quartey (Dep Fin Min) Rep of Min of Fin. Member

4. Mr Kofi Asamoah (Gen Sec TUC). Rep of Organised Labour. Member

5. . Mr Prince W Ankrah Mine Workers Union .Rep of Organised labour. Member 6. . Naaba Alhaji M A Azinko Local Government Workers Union( Rep of Organised Labour ) Member

7.. M Mawuto V V K Dameya (Rep of Organised Labour GNAT). Member

8.. Mr Terence R Darko (President Ghana Employers Association) Rep Of GEA. Member

9.. Mr Alex Frimpong ( Ex Sec Ghana Employers Association). Rep of GEA member

10. Col. James Adamu Koto (rtd) Rep of security services member

11. Mr Theodore A Nee Okpey Rep of National Pensioners Association. Member

12. Mr Ernest Thompson. DG

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