Tuesday, 28 May

Judgment day for former MASLOC boss, others today

Crime
Former CEO of MASLOC, Ms Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, has been out of Ghana since 2021 after the court granted her leave for medical treatment in the US

The High Court in Accra is expected to deliver judgment today in the case in which a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Ms Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, has been accused of causing financial loss of GH¢90 million to the state.

At the last sitting on February 27, this year, the court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe, directed both the prosecution and the defence to file their written submission by March 22.

Ms Attionu is on trial with Daniel Axim, a former Operations Manager of MASLOC, facing 78 counts of conspiracy, stealing, unauthorised commitment resulting in financial obligation for the government, improper payment, money laundering and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The prosecution has accused them of stealing GH¢3.19 million while at MASLOC and willfully causing GH¢1.97 million financial loss to the state. Again, they have been accused of making unauthorised commitments resulting in financial obligations for the government of GH¢61.74 million.

The charges against the two also include GH¢22.15 million loss of public property, improper payment of GH¢273,743, and laundering of GH¢3.7 million.

Trial in Absentia

On February 24, 2023, the court granted an application by the prosecution to conduct the trial in the absence of Attionu, after the court allowed her to go to the United States in 2021 for medical attention but she has since not returned.

Prior to the trial in absentia, the court had 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 as sureties for.

Prosecution’s facts

Per the facts presented by the prosecution, in 2017, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) conducted investigations into certain fraudulent disbursement of MASLOC funds involving the first and second accused persons.

The investigations, according to the prosecution, revealed that in June 2014, MASLOC invested a sum of GH¢150,000 in Obaatanpa Micro-Finance Company Limited (Obaatanpa), a licensed Tier II microfinance company located at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

Thereafter, Attionu offered Obaatanpa a further investment sum of GH¢500,000. As a result, a MASLOC Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) cheque dated July 24, 2014, in the sum of GH¢500,000 was drawn in favour of Obaatanpa.

Soon after Obaatanpa received the MASLOC cheque, the first accused person informed the Board Chairman of Obaatanpa that the investment amount of GH¢500,000 would attract 24 per cent interest.

Obaatanpa decided to return the amount to MASLOC since the interest rate demanded by the accused person was too high and unprofitable for its business and issued a cheque to refund the loan amount.

The facts further stated that upon the presentation of the cheque, the first accused person declined to accept the cheque and made a demand for a cash refund. A cash amount of GH¢500,000 was delivered to Attionu by the Board Chairman of Obaatanpa on the night of August 28, 2014, at the Baatsona Total Filling Station located on Spintex Road in Accra.

In a letter dated August 28, 2014, the first accused person acknowledged receipt of the refunded sum. In 2015, per letters, some of which were under the hand of Attionu, MASLOC made demands on Obaatanpa for the payment of interest on the principal investment sum of GH¢500,000.

In response to the demands, Obaatanpa wrote a reminder to MASLOC concerning the payment of the loan amount and drew Ms Attionu’s attention to the unjustified demands whereupon the demands stopped.

 

Investigations subsequently showed that MASLOC had no record of the amount having been paid to it and that Attionu had appropriated the amount of GH¢500,000.

Source: Graphic.com.gh