Court orders documents to be authenticated in trial of former MASLOC CEO

Sedinam Tamakloe

The Accra High Court trying Sedinam Tamakloe Ationu, a former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and Daniel Axim, its former Operations Manager for misappropriation of State funds, has ordered defense counsel of Tamakloe to notorise and authenticate a document being used as evidence in the trial.

This was after her sureties – Mr Alex Mould and Gavivina Tamakloe – produced some documents to indicate that she was seeking medical attention abroad.

She has been absent from the Court since October 2021.

The Court, realising that the document was not certified, asked the sureties to do so.

Due to her sureties’ failure to produce her, the Court demanded that the sureties also be bailed, necessitating one Dr Aziz Bamba and Madam Beatrice Annan Fio to stand sureties for Mr Mould and Mr Gavivina.

The defense counsel said it had on January 16, 2023, caused a letter to be sent to court, but the Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe said it did not serve a legal purpose, saying, “what am I supposed to do with this, how does that work for it to be part of a record as to whether a recognisance had been forfeited?”

“We have that situation that I have delivered a ruling and have asked sureties to produce the accused person, the document is not notorised, how can I deal with that a foreign document that does not satisfy requirements, no address, nothing?”

The Court again pointed out that the document was not directed to it and that it was supposed to go to somewhere at Airport Hill, which did not satisfy the rules.

The Counsel prayed for a week for the document to be notorised.

In opposing for the extension, a Principal State Attorney, Stella Ohene Appiah said the accused persons were taking the court for granted and that the document they brought to the Court was an afterthought.

The case was adjourned to January 24, 2023.

Sedinam Tamakloe, a former CEO MASLOC, has been charged for misappropriating State funds together with Mr Daniel Axim, also a former Operations Manager of MASLOC.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and willfully causing financial loss to the State and has been granted bail in the sum of GH¢5 million with two sureties whilst Axim has also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and stealing and admitted to a bail in the sum of GH¢1 million with one surety.

The Court earlier heard that, Tamakloe was CEO of MASLOC from November 2013 to January 2017 whilst Axim was the then Operations Manager.

In 2017, EOCO conducted investigations into certain alleged fraudulent disbursement of MASLOC funds involving the two accused persons.

The audit revealed that, in June 2014, MASLOC invested GH¢150,000.00 in Obaatanpa Micro-Finance Company Limited, a licensed Tier II Micro-Finance Company located at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

Tamakloe also offered Obaatanpa a further investment of GH¢500,000.00 and as a result, MASLOC issued an Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) cheque dated July 24, 2014, in the sum, of GH¢500,000.00 to be drawn in favour of Obaatanpa.

The Prosecution said after Obaatanpa was issued the cheque, Tamakloe had informed the Board Chairman of Obaatanpa that the money would attract a 24 per cent interest so the Company allegedly decided to return the money because of the high interest rate and issued a cheque to that effect.

When the cheque was presented, Tamakloe allegedly declined it and asked for cash, upon which her request was honoured on August 24, 2014.

She allegedly wrote a letter to acknowledge receipt of the money.

In 2015, per letters some of, written by Tamakloe, MASLOC made demands on Obaatanpa for the interest on the principal amount of GH¢500,000.00, of which in response, Obaatanpa reminded MASLOC of the refunded money and particularly drew the attention of Tamakloe to the unjustified demand.

The Prosecution said in 2017, when a new CEO took office, a demand notice was again sent to Obaatanpa for the payment of the accrued interest of which Obaatanpa again informed MASLOC of the payment, but investigations revealed that MASLOC had no record of the amount repayment in cash to Tamakloe.

The Prosecution said further investigations disclosed that in April 2016, Tamakloe obtained the approval of the MASLOC Board to utilise GH¢1,706,000.00 of MASLOC funds for a nation-wide sensitisation and monitoring programme for 85,300 beneficiaries of MASLOC loans, where each of the beneficiary was to receive GH¢20.00 to cover transportation and refreshment.

The Court heard that between April and December 2016, Tamakloe had allegedly used her office to withdraw GH¢1,816,000.00 in three tranches, though the Board had approved only GH¢1,706,000.00.

The Prosecution said other investigations revealed that out of the GH¢1,816,000.00, only GH¢1,300.00 was spent on refreshment for some beneficiaries in the Volta, Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo Regions and also no such programme took place in the other regions.

The Prosecution said investigations also revealed that in 2013 following a fire disaster at the Kantamanto market, the then President John Dramani Mahama directed MASLOC to provide assistance of GH¢1,465.035.00 to victims, with the money disbursed through Dwadifo Adanfo Savings and Loans Company Limited but Tamakloe allegedly appropriated GH¢579,800.00 out of the total amount.

The Prosecution said in August 2016, Tamakloe on behalf of MASLOC wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for approval to procure vehicles from Mac Autos and Spare Parts Limited for the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union using sole-sourcing under the PPA Act.

The Prosecution said, however, without approval from PPA, Tamakloe allegedly signed a contract with Mac Autos on December 6, to supply MASLOC with 350 vehicles, including 150 Chevy Aveo saloon cars, 100 Chevy Sparklite and a 33-seater Isuzu bus.

It said MASLOC had applied for a tax waiver on all the vehicles, saying, the unit price offered for the Chevy Aveo was GH¢74,495.00 but investigations revealed that the actual price was GH¢47,346.93, whilst she gave that of the Chevy Sparklite as GH¢65,095.00 whilst the actual price was GH¢35,918.37 and Isuzu 33-seater bus as GH¢445,560.00 but the actual price was GH¢293,877.55.

The Prosecution said earlier, in November 2016, MASLOC procured 200 pieces of Samsung B310 mobile dual sim phones at GH¢93,412.00 under a project called PINCO Project Market Survey, whilst the actual price was GH¢24,400.00.

The prosecution said investigations further revealed that in January 2017, Tamakloe without the requisite approval and authorisation caused to be paid to herself and her deputy, one Mustapha Abubakar Batalima, the sums of GH¢135,592.33 and GH¢82,218.76, respectively as ex-gratia.

According to the Prosecution again in that same month, Tamakloe caused to be paid to herself and her Deputy, GH¢28,445.94 and GH¢27,486.62, respectively.

Source: GNA

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