A former Board Chairman of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Professor Joshua Alabi has reacted to the audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the controversial Operational Business System (OBS) contract awarded Malaysian information technology firm, Silverlake Group and its Ghanaian partners, Perfect Business Systems (PBS) stressing that some staff of the audit firm may have been compromised.
At a press conference held in Accra, details of an audit and investigative reports by Pricewaterhouse and EOCO cited Ernest Thompson, former SSNIT boss for impropriety. He, together with some others were cited for causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢147 million.
The Board was also cited in the report as having failed to ensure accountability in the project.
But Prof. Alabi says the board cannot be faulted because it was not given the needed information as rightfully indicated in the audit report.
“They [the auditors] are also saying that management did not give the board information to act on and then you’re saying we didn’t act. How do you marry the two? The board works based on information. The board chairman is not an executive chairman who sits there every day,” he said on ’21 minutes with KKB’.
On whether the board could not seek additional information to act upon, he replied, “What information do you seek? You attend board meeting, they give you all the necessary papers, the papers are very correct, it is sent to a subcommittee of the board. The subcommittee on the board now works on it, brings the recommendations to the board.”
For Prof. Alabi, the report appears to have been presented in a manner which casts a slur on the board.
“It has been carefully written in a way just to add something small to the board and then they leave it,” he noted, emphasizing that the board did what was required of it.
“They brought the approved figure to the board, they kept it into their budget. The board approves budgets; we are not technically good enough to argue over what the Procurement Authority did. But the board came in when they went beyond their approved figure. That was when we queried them” he argued.
When asked why he was suggesting that PwC appears to have been influenced by the government, the politicians said once it is a human institution, everything was possible.
“If you believe that any minister can be corrupt, then anybody can be corrupt. We are humans. I’m not saying they are but if you believe Alabi can be corrupt, then why can’t I also believe that you, the interviewer can be corrupt?” he told host, Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng.
The initial contract sum signed in 2012 was $34 million but within a four-year period, it shot up to over $72 million. The contract was to replace the manual nature of work at the Trust with complete automation.