JSUT IN: It’s Official: Court Chases John Mahama’s Appointee As She Absconds in GH¢500k ‘in Ghana-must-go’ Bag Trial -DETAILS

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JSUT IN: It’s Official: Court Chases John Mahama’s Appointee As She Absconds in GH¢500k ‘in Ghana-must-go’ Bag Trial -DETAILS

The Economic and Financial Division of the Accra High Court, presided over by a Court of Appeal judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe has set in motion the trial of absentia of the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Christine Sedinam Tamakloe Attianu, after establishing the latter has absconded.

The court made the decision based on Article 19(3), which says: “The trial of a person charged with a criminal offence shall take place in his presence unless –

(a) He refuses to appear before the court for trial to be conducted in his presence after he has been duly notified of the trial; or

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(b) He conducts himself in such a manner to render the continuation of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court orders him to be removed for the trial to proceed in his presence.

Her Ladyship indicated that Article 19(3)(a) holds in per this circumstance, as Mrs Attianu had been present for the trial to commence for about one and a half years and later applied to the court for her passport to travel abroad to seek medical attention and had since not returned.

The court ruled on Friday that, “It is ordered that per Article 19(3)(a), the first accused would be tried in absentia since she has disabled herself of the opportunity to be tried in her presence, since she was duly notified.”

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According to her, it has been over one year since she travelled for the said medical routine, but has not returned to face the trial.

Justice Asare-Botwe added that all the court gets is her lawyers filing applications on her behalf, hence there is no doubt that she is in constant communication with her Counsel in the case.

This observation follows a fresh application filed by Mrs Attianu’s legal Counsel, Samuel Osei Sarpong, led by Ephraim Abgesi Dzakpasu.

The court considered two out of the three requests of the application, with the explanation that the first request – pray for an order of personal service on the first accused, Mrs Attionu, which cannot be granted because her whereabouts is not known.

Justice Asare-Botwe further stated that if the court knew the whereabouts of the first accused, the sureties would not have been ordered to pay the GH₵5 million bond.

However, the court, in considering the other request, made the following orders that a 21-day notice of trial in absentia should be served and to be made public at three places – on the notice board of the court, at the last residence of the accused and a publication in a newspaper with a national wide circulation.

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The instant ruling requires the granting of an application for forfeiture of sureties filed by the prosecution.

The case has been adjourned to March 28, 2023, for continuation of the proceedings.

Background

Mrs Attionu is standing trial with the former Operations Manager at MASLOC, Daniel Axim, second accused, for conspiracy, stealing, money laundering, and wilfully causing financial loss to the Republic.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all of the counts. Sedinam, in particular, was granted bail in the sum of GH₵5 million, justified by two sureties – Alex Mould and Gavivina Tamakloe.

Parts of the evidence against her in court include receiving GH₵500,000.00 in Ghana-Must-Go bag from Obaatanpa Microfinance Company, utilisation of GH₵1,706,000 for nationwide sensitisation programme and withdrawal ofGH₵1,816,000 from the MASLOC account and same being spent on refreshment.

Misappropriation of GH₵579,800.00 out of GH₵1465, 035.00 allocated to Kantamanto Market fire victims, the purchase of 350 vehicles without Public Procurement Authority approval, as well as 200 pieces of Samsung B310 mobile phones purchased at GH₵93,412.00 instead of GH₵24,400.00.

Similarly, without approval caused herself and deputy, one Mustapha, to be paid GH₵135,595.33 and GH₵82,218.76 respectively.

Meanwhile, in the same month, she allegedly again changed her salary and that of her deputy to GH₵28,445.94 and GH₵27,486.62 respectively.

thechronicle.com

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