Watch the full video of Thursday’s PM Express below.
President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe wants a procurement deal that has been the subject of an alleged corruption scandal at Ghana’s pensions trust to be abrogated.
According to him, there are better alternatives to the Operational Business System (OBS) that the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) have spent at least $70 million on.
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The cost of the project that is expected to improve transaction between SSNIT and pensioners has been described as over and above the market price for similar systems.
“I am submitting to SSNIT that they should actually discontinue this process. If the current administration is doing it, they should stop and look out for mobile platforms.
“After all, why spend more in excess of $100 million pensioners money in order to make them access information about their pensions. It doesn’t make sense”, he said.
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The immediate past Director-General of the Trust, Mr Ernest Thompson, and three other top executives have been indicted in an investigative report by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) which cited them for causing financial loss to the state.
The other three are former Head of MIT Department, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo; former OBS project Manager, John Hagan Mensah and Juliet Hasana Kramah of IT company, Perfect Business Systems which executed the contract.
The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, has said her office is currently studying the docket of the case brought by EOCO before formal charges could be leveled against the indicted persons.
Mr Cudjoe said the scandal at SSNIT is evidence of a bigger problem at the Trust, which according to him has become a cash-cow.
“If they take one cedi of your money, they spend 40 pesewas on themselves and because they have very bad investment structures, they have so much to spend and play with. Otherwise, this whole project was not needed.
He believes SSNIT could have easily integrated pensioners’ information into the Controller and Accountant General’s systems as has been done for salaries of public servants.
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SSNIT settled on a tender that quoted $72 million for the software that is supposed to automate all the core processes in the administration of pension, although it received tenders to undertake the project at much cheaper prices including a $9 million bid.
A tender price of $27,610,792 was initially quoted, but Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium, the bid winners reviewed to 34, 011,914.21 after the General Services Manager of SSNIT identified arithmetic errors in the tender.
This figure was many times more than that of Persol Systems’ – about $4million. Sambus Company Limited presented the second least bid price, $9.8 million.
After the deal between SSNIT and Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium was sealed in 2012, the cost of the project increased by about $32million.
The exponential addition was attributed to the procurement of additional equipment including servers and flash drivers and headsets.