The High Court in Accra has commenced the pre-trial hearing also known as Case Management Conference (CMC) in the case in which the former Director-General of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and four others are standing trial.
The purpose of the initial CMC is to identify the essential issues in the litigation and to avoid unnecessary, burdensome, or duplicative discovery and other pretrial procedures in the course of preparing for trial of those issues.
The case has been adjourned therefore been adjourned to Friday, November 12, 2021.
At the last court sitting, on October 29, Mr Thompson and two others pleaded not guilty to two amended charges.
The two amended charges are counts 11 and 12 which state “conspiracy to cause financial loss to the Republic” and “wilfully causing financial loss to the Republic” respectively.
The other two are John Hagan Mensah, a former Information Technology Manager at SSNIT and Ms Juliet Hassana Kramer, the Chief Executive Officer of Perfect Business Systems (PBS).
The three together with Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, a former Head of Management Information Systems (MIS) at SSNIT; and Peter Hayibor, the lawyer for SSNIT standing trial for 29 charges including causing financial loss to the state.
But, all pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 20, 2021.00
The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge admitted them to their previous bail conditions.
On July 29 sitting, the State served notice it will call 13 witnesses to lead evidence.
The five accused persons all pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 20, 2021.
They have been slapped with a total of 29 including willfully causing financial loss to the state, conspiracy to cause financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretense and contravention of public procurement authority act, and authoring of forged documents.
The former DG, Hagan and Ms Kramer have been charged with willfully causing financial loss of more than US$24million to the state.
Afaglo, the Head of MIS was accused of gaining employment at SSNIT with fake certificates while Hayibor, the lawyer, is alleged to have known the alleged illegal transactions concerning the OBS at SSNIT.
The facts of the case according to the prosecution was that, in 2010, SSNIT embarked on the implementation of the OBS to provide state of the art pension administration.
According to the prosecution, the contract sum was around US$34m and SSNIT advertised for bids for the project.
But awarded it to a consortium which included PBS, although PBS did not partake in the bidding
The Prosecution said, Thompson, Juliet and Afaglo caused SSNIT to pay additional money for items that were already covered by the contract.
The project according to prosecution ballooned to around $66million.
The former DG according to prosecution made payments that were above his threshold as Director-General of SSNIT.
Afaglo, the prosecution said used fake certificates to gain employment at SSNIT.