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26.07.2019 Crime & Punishment

Court Throws Out Application By Ex-SSNIT Boss, 4 Others

Supreme Court of Ghana
LISTEN JUL 26, 2019
Supreme Court of Ghana

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed an application filed by one of the officers standing trial alongside former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, at an Accra High Court.

The application filed by John Hagan Mensah, Information Technology Infrastructure Manager of SSNIT, was seeking to overturn a decision of the trial court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, dismissing an application challenging the charges against the accused persons.

In Mr. Mensah's suit at the Supreme Court, he attached Mr. Thompson and the other accused persons as interested parties and wanted the highest court of the land to quash the decision of the High Court for exercising what he says was 'excess jurisdiction' and for 'an error of law'on the face of the records of proceedings.

Moving the application, Mujeed Rahman Ahmed, counsel for Mr. Mensah, said that the trial judge made an error when he dismissed an application challenging the Attorney-General's use of 'State' instead of 'Republic' in the charge as provided by statute.

It was his argument that there is no charge as causing 'financial loss to the state' but rather what exists is 'causing financial loss to the republic'.

He, therefore, said that his client and the others could not be put before a court over what he called a non-existent charge.

He also argued that the trial judge exceeded his jurisdiction when he ignored a constitutional matter and went ahead to rule on the application.

Opposition

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa opposed the application, saying the trial judge had jurisdiction to decide on a case that was before him and act within his jurisdiction.

She said the main issue that was before the judge was whether the charges were appropriate in law.

She added that the instant application did not raise any constitutional matter as those issues had already been decided by the Supreme Court.

A panel of five judges presided over by Justice Sulemana Gbadegbe, with Justices Alfred Benin, Samuel Marful-Sau, Nene Amegtcher and Agnes Dordzie as members, held that the trial judge did not exceed his jurisdiction by refusing the application.

Trial

Mr. Thompson and three former management members of SSNIT and a private businesswoman have been accused of causing financial loss to the state in the award of the controversial and failed $72 million IT project – Operational Business Suite (OBS).

Caleb Kwaku Afaglo, General Manager of Management Information Systems at SSNIT, and Peter Hayibor, General Counsel of SSNIT, are the other accused persons.

They have been accused of inflating the contract sum of the OBS from $34,011,914.21 to $66,783,148.08 through what are termed variously as 'change orders' and 'variations.'

---Daily Guide

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