Ex-MASLOC Boss Challenges Trial In Absentia

Sedina Tamakloe Attionu


Counsel for former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, has filed an application to stay the trial in her absence.

An Accra High Court on February 24, 2023, granted an application to conduct the case in her absence after she fled to the United States in 2021 and has since refused to return for the trial.

This was after the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Justie of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge, had previously held that the accused had absconded and subsequently ordered her two sureties – Alex Mould and Gavivina Tamakloe to forfeit the bail bond and pay the GH¢5 million bail sum.

But her lawyer, Agbesi Dzakpasu, has filed an application for stay of the proceedings in the trial. The application could, however, not be moved because the return date on it was May 4, and the Office of the Attorney General was yet to be served.

The court subsequently adjourned the case to May 4, 2023, to determine the application.

Meanwhile, counsel for Daniel Axim who has been charged alongside Ms. Attionu could not continue the cross-examination of the prosecution’s last witness as Mr. Dzakpasu raised an objection to the timing of the processes.

According to him, the 21-day period given by the court for the publication of the order for the trial of his client in absentia had not elapsed, hence the court could not continue with the case.

Checks by DAILY GUIDE confirmed that the order was published in the Daily Graphic newspaper on April 3, 2023 and the 21-day period will elapse on April 24, 2023.

Trial in Absentia

The Office of the Attorney General filed the motion before the court urging it to conduct the trial in the absence of the accused, who is facing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state after she failed to return to the country following the release of her passport to her to travel to United States for medical checkup.

Ms. Attionu and Daniel Axim are facing 78 counts of charges including conspiracy to steal, stealing, unauthorised commitment resulting in a financial obligation for the government, improper payment, money laundering and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The prosecution had called seven witnesses, and counsel for Daniel Axim was left with one hour to complete his cross-examination for the prosecution to close its case.

Ms. Attionu’s lawyer however, sent a letter to the court asking it to release her passport for her to travel for medical checkup, and the court, presided over by Justice Asare-Botwe, granted the request and ordered her to return to court on October 5, 2021.

She, however, failed to do so, and the court issued a warrant for her arrest and subsequently adjourned the matter to November 16, 2021. She has still not returned to stand trial.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak