in

Runaway ex-MASLOC boss to open defence

2nd August 2023

Former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, who is on the run following her arraignment for causing financial loss to the state, has been ordered to mount a defence against the charges leveled against her by the Office of the Attorney General.

This was after Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as an additional High Court Judge yesterday held that the prosecution has made a prima facie case against her and the Operations Manager of the company, Daniel Axim to warrant a defence.

The court said the two accused persons ought to explain why buying things in bulk cost the government more money than buying same at retail prices.

It also held that Ms. Attionu has to demonstrate that she had the power to authorize some payments which the prosecution said she did not have authority to do so.

Mr. Axim is to file all his disclosures by October 9, 2023, while the registrar of the court was ordered to serve the ruling on a submission of no case to answer on Agbesi Dzakpasu, counsel for Ms. Attionu by August 11. The trial was adjourned to October 19 for case management.

Charges

Ms. Attionu and Mr. Axim are facing 80 counts of conspiracy, stealing, unauthorised commitment resulting in a financial obligation for the government, improper payment, money laundering and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They allegedly stole a total of GH¢3,198,280 whiles at MASLOC and willfully caused a GH¢1,973,780 financial loss to the state.

Again, Ms. Attionu and her accomplice according to the facts while in charge at MASLOC 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 GH¢22,158,118.85 loss to public property and improper payment of GH¢273,743.66 as well as money laundering of GH¢3,704,380.

Trial in Absentia

The court on February 24, 2023 granted an application by the prosecution conduct the trial in the absence of Attionu, after she fled to the United States in 2021 and has since refused to return for the trial.

The court, prior to that on January 24, 2023, ordered the former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould and actor, Gavivina Tamakloe to pay the GH¢5 million bail bond to the state for their failure to produce the accused person whom they stood sureties for.

Prosecution’s case

The prosecution led by Stella Ohene Appiah and Winifred Sarpong, both Principal State Attorneys called four witnesses to prove its case against Ms. Attionu who according to court documents bloated the unit price of Samsung mobile phones purchased by MASLOC and some buses thereby making them too expensive for driver unions to purchase from the company.

Other allegations against the accused indicate that Ms. Ationu failed to return GH¢500,000 that MASLOC invested in Obaatanpa which was later withdrawn due to high interest demanded.

According to the state, investigations further revealed that in April 2016, Ms. Attionu obtained approval of the MASLOC Board to utilize GH¢1,706,000 of MASLOC funds for a country wide sensitisation and monitoring programme for 85,300 beneficiaries of MASLOC loans. Each of the targeted 85,300 beneficiaries was to receive GH¢20 to cover transportation and refreshment.

“Between April and December 2016, upon the authority of the 1st accused person a total sum of GH¢1,816,000 withdrawn in tranches, was received by the 1st and 2nd accused persons even though approval had been given by the MASLOC Board for a sum of GH¢1,706,000.

Again investigations revealed that out of the sum of GH¢1,816,000 only GH¢1,300 was spent on refreshment for some beneficiaries in the Volta, Greater-Accra and Brong-Ahafo Regions only and that no programme whatsoever took place in the other seven regions”, the facts sheet said.

The former MASLCO boss has also been accused of diverting GH¢579,800 out of a GH¢1,465,035 support by government for victims of the Kantamanto Market fire disaster in 2013.

Written by Web Master

Over 100,000 people have HIV, unaware and are spreading it – Ghana AIDS Commission

Two more persons arrested over Cecilia Dapaah’s stolen money