Ghana Charges Ex-Head of State Fund Manager Over IT Contract
(Bloomberg) -- The former head of Ghana’s state-owned fund manager has been charged in connection with the cost of an IT contract that ballooned by almost 90 percent during his term in office.
Ernest Thompson, who served as director-general of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust for four years until 2016, appeared Tuesday in the High Court in Accra for causing losses to the state, Attorney General Gloria Akuffo said in a broadcast on Joy News. The charges against Thompson and three former senior SSNIT officials stem from the cost of a contract that escalated to $66 million from an initial agreement of $35 million, she said.
SSNIT agreed to the contract prior to Thompson’s tenure to connect the fund manager’s 54 branches across the country, issue digital cards to clients and improve services, he said when contacted by phone. Costs rose after the money manager asked for more services from the contractor, Thompson said.
“Our lawyers spoke in court. We pleaded not guilty and the judge grant us bail,” he said.
A spokeswoman for SSNIT declined to comment when contacted by phone.
Since coming to power in January last year, the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has pledged to crack down on pervasive graft in the West African nation. The highest-profile investigations include that of the former chief executive officer of the cocoa regulator, Stephen Opuni, who’s alleged to have influenced the award of fertilizer contracts worth $65.8 million, and a probe into the conduct of the head of the country’s soccer association due to alleged fraud.
SSNIT manages 9.9 billion cedis ($2.1 billion) in assets, Chief Executive Officer Hayford Atta Krufi said in September.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.