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SSNIT saga: Lawyer’s advise against backdating payment for software ignored
Joy News has intercepted a letter that reveals management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) was counseled against backdating payment for the controversial software, however, that advice fell on deaf ears.
The letter, dated January 2016, emphatically objected to backdating the payment of $2,000,000 for the software to 2014 on grounds that that was not captured in the contract agreement.
“What it means is that SSNIT will have to pay the annual SLA [Service Level Agreement] fee of US$2,000, 000.00 immediately upon signing the agreement (to cover from September 2014 to September 2015) and pay another US$2,000,000.00 in September this year , when in effect it would have just received about 9 months of service under the SLA instead of the contractual 2 years. This is objectionable,” Senior Corporate Law Officer, Jaezi Orleans-Lindsay, explained in the correspondence to the General Manager.
The country is still seeking answers to how an initial budget of $34 million for an Operational Business Suit ballooned to over $70 million in two years following revelations of possible financial malfeasance at the Trust.
The contract awarded to Perfect Business Solutions Limited included the provision of Pension Administration Solution, Mobile Registration Workstations, Desktop Registration Workstations, Biometric Solutions and Card Printers among others.
The immediate past Director General of SSNIT, Ernest Thompson, says the company was not obliged to take the advice.
He maintains that the right decisions were made at the time.
“There is nothing wrong in law if a contract is drafted today but it takes effect from tomorrow. It depends on the reason. The [lawyer’s] opinion is a wrong opinion but I didn’t see that opinion. But if you see that memo, it didn’t come to me, I saw it just recently,” he explained.
Read the lawyer’s advice in the document below.