SSNIT board did no wrong in software deal – Joshua Alabi

The immediate past Board Chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, Professor Joshua Alabi, says his board did no wrong in the procurement of a software for the Trust. According to the former board chair, the SSNIT board does not have control over procurement and contractual issues. “The project managers at the time did some variations, but they did not bring it to the board because the board does not preside over contracts at SSNIT. They took it to the appropriate body that is the [Public] Procurement Authority.” SSNIT was in the news last year for spending $72 million on procuring and installing software and other hardware systems known as the Operational Business Suite (OBS). The issue, which is being investigated by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), also saw management come under attack for failing to conduct a proper investigation into the background of the MIS Manager, Dr Caleb Afaglo, who was alleged to be working with fake certificates. Speaking to TV3 Newday host Johnnie Hughes on the issue, Professor Alabi  said the procurement authority is responsible in that it has the right for determining whether or not the cost involved in securing the software is appropriate or not. The former board chairman added that management at the time complied with the budgetary allocations made by the procurement authority, hence the board did no wrong in approving the budget. “When the [public ] Pocurement Authority accepted the figure, the management brought the figure into the budget and if the procurement authority has approved such an amount of money for something, who is the board chairman to say the figure is too much,” Professor Alabi said. Professor Alabi was of the view that the issue was blown out of proportion, adding it was not a scandal as reported by the media. “I disagree that it is a scandal,” he insisted. “In the first place, it is not just software, and it goes beyond that. It is when it is limited to being just software that people believe it is a scandal.” He said the project is an integrated system with which government was able to reduce ghost names on the pay roll. According to the professor, SSNIT plays a major role towards the development of the country and needs to be commended for its contribution towards national development.

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By Irene Amesimeku||Ghana ]]>