AG urges absentia trial of Ex-MASLOC CEO

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Principal State Attorney Stella Ohene Appiah has urged the Accra Financial and Economic High Court 2 to opt for a trial in absentia of former Chief Executive Officer of the Micro-Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedinam Ationu Tamakloe.

She said the trial in absentia should become the option after the accused had absented herself from court since October last year. This would, especially, be the case if the prosecution took the view that she had willfully absented herself from the court over the period in which case she may be surrendering her right to be present in the trial.

Ms. Tamakloe was granted permission by the court to travel to America for medical examination last year. However, she is yet to return for the trial to continue.

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When the case was called yesterday, the Principal State Attorney, Stella Ohene Appiah, urged the court to open the case in absentia since it had already issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the accused. She argued that the conduct of the accused could be tantamount to trying to avoid trial.

“Her Lawyer does not know when A1 (Ms Tamakloe) is coming back and doesn’t know the medical condition of A1. This is a criminal trial. This accused person is just trying to avoid trial. She should be tried in absentia. The prosecution has just two hours to examine her,” she told the court.

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Counsel for Ms Tamakloe, Kwesi Agbesi Dzakpasu, argued that “it is not as if A1 just got up and ran away”, but “she made a formal application to the court,” and prayed the court to allow his client sometime to appear for the trial.

The court, presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, adjourned the case for two weeks, with notice to resume on January 25, 2022.

Meanwhile, the second accused person, Sanieo Axim, former Operations Manager of MASLOC, was present in court.

Brief facts

The former MASLOC CEO and Mr Axim have been hauled before the court for allegedly stealing and causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢93 million, among other charges.

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Together, the two are facing 78 counts of charges, including conspiracy to steal, stealing and unauthorised commitment, resulting in a financial obligation for the government.

The other charges include improper payment, money laundering and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The two accused persons allegedly stole a total amount of GH¢3,198,280 while at MASLOC, and willfully caused a GH¢1,973,780 financial loss to the state.

Again, Ms. Tamakloe and her accomplice, while in charge of MASLOC, allegedly made unauthorized commitments, resulting in financial obligations for the government to the tune of GH¢61,735,832.50.

The charges against the two also include a GH¢22,158,118.85 loss to public property and improper payment of GH¢273,743.66, as well as alleged money laundering to the tune of GH¢3,704,380.

 

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