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Fmr MASLOC boss pleads not guilty to 78 charges, case adjourned to March 4

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Former MASLOC boss, Sedina Tamakloe

Former Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, MASLOC, Sedina Christine Tamakloe Attionu, and the former Operations Manager of MASLOC, Daniel Axim, have both pleaded not guilty to eighty (80) counts of Stealing, Causing Financial Loss to the State, Causing Loss to Public Property, Improper Payment of Public Funds, Unauthorised Commitment Resulting in Financial Obligation for the Government, Money Laundering and Contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The two accused persons made their first appearance before the Financial and Tax High Court two (2) presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, where their charges were read to them before their pleas were taken.

The first accused person was represented in Court by Lawyer Agbesi Dzakpasu and the second accused person by Lawyer Alfred Agyei Mensah.

The 1st accused person, Sedina Christine Tamakloe Attionu, was the Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), a position she held from November 2013 to January 2017.

The 2nd accused person, Daniel Axim, is the former Operations Manager at MASLOC. MASLOC is a government agency set up to assist small and medium scale businesses with low-interest loans.

Read also: Former MASLOC boss charged with 80 counts of stealing, money laundering

The State was represented by the leader of the Bar and Attorney General of the Republic, Gloria Akuffo, the Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dinkiok Kpemka, the Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Atakora Buabisa, and a Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Kelson.

While reading the charges to the hearing of the accused persons, it was noticed by the Court that the State in her numbering of the courts jumped from count forty-eight (48) to fifty-one (51). As a consequence, the counts were reduced to Seventy-eight 78 instead of eighty (80). Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe’s Court on the application by the Attorney General for leave to correct the numbering error refused the same indicating that the error does not have any serious effect of the substance of the case.

The two accused persons on the application of their lawyers were granted bail to the tune of 5 million Ghana cedis with two sureties and 1 million cedis with one surety for the first and second accused persons respectively.

The sureties with regard to bail, the Court ordered should not be persons who are ex-convicts nor persons subjects to criminal prosecution currently in any Court of law. The two accused persons are to deposit their passports with the registry of the Court.

The Court first ordered the Prosecution to ensure that within the next ten (10) days, they ensure that the defence team are served all necessary documents in order to prepare their defence. Both parties together with the court settled on the 4th of March 2019 as date for the next Court sitting for the closed door case management proceedings to begin.

Read also: 50% of MASLOC loans should go to women - Akufo-Addo instructs

Appointees of the former President John Dramani Mahama’s administration such as Former Attorney General, Marietta Brew Oppong, Former Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Former Attorney General, Betty Mould Iddrisu, Spokesperson for former President John Dramani Mahama, Joyce Bawah Mogtari, were in Court to offer their support to their fellow appointee.