Even before the dust settles on the $72 million software purchase scandal at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for the Operational Business Suite (OBS) project, another report has emerged that the Trust, under the Joshua Alabi-led board, spent a whopping $150 million on a housing project without value for money audit.
Alabi, who is nursing the ambition to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 elections, appears to be highly enmeshed in the SSNIT scandal, particularly the $72 million OBS contract awarded to Perfect Business System for the provision of the software for the Trust’s operations.
Mr Joshua Alabi’s board also allegedly engaged the sacked SSNIT General Manager (MIS), Caleb Afaglo, to acquire fake degrees.
The housing project is yet to be completed and it is not clear if SSNIT’s partner, Regimanuel Limited – an estate developer – provided its counterpart funding.
According to reports, the latest revelation indicates that the Joshua Alabi-led SSNIT board authorized the use of the fund in 2015 to build top-range houses. DAILY GUIDE understands the projects on which the said amount was expended included the Dunkonah Housing Project, which was to provide 608 housing units and the 1,760-unit Housing Project at Klagon, near Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
According to reports, both projects, constructed in collaboration with Regimanuel Limited, were to cost $250 million, with SSNIT contributing $150 million.
It is believed that minutes from the Trust’s 279th Board of Trustees meeting held on December 15 and 16, 2015 disclosed that a decision was taken to conduct a value for money audit on the two projects before their executions. To that effect, accounting firm, PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) was reportedly singled out to conduct the audit.
The said meeting, according to sources, was attended by all the members of the SSNIT board with the exception of then deputy Finance Minister, Mona Quartey – who represented the Finance Ministry on the board – and SSNIT’s then Director-General, Ernest Thompson.
However, the value for money audit, which was supposed to be conducted on the projects, was reportedly cancelled after SSNIT’s 288th Board of Trustees meeting said to have been held on January 21, 2016.
The SSNIT Director-General and Mona Quartey, who were absent in the earlier meeting, were said to be present at that meeting.
Several efforts by DAILY GUIDE to speak to Prof. Alabi over the matter was unsuccessful, as his personal aide, Benjamin Essuman, told this paper that he (Prof. Alabi) was not prepared to speak to the media over the allegations.
According to Essuman, the report by Joy News concerning the housing project was misleading and inconsistent.
He noted that the project was not a failure as alleged by Joy News because the engineers of SSNIT did a thorough cost-benefit analysis before going ahead with it.
A series of gargantuan corruption allegations have been leveled against Prof. Alabi.