Ex-MASLOC Boss Faces Trial In Absentia

Sedina Tamakloe Attionu

An Accra High Court has granted an application by the Office of the Attorney General to conduct the trial of former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, in her absence after she fled to the United States in 2021 and has since refused to return for the trial.

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.

The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal judge siting as an additional High Court judge, on January 24, 2023 ordered the former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould and actor, Gavivina Tamakloe to pay GH¢5 million to the state for their failure to produce the accused person whom they stood sureties for.


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.

The prosecution therefore, filed two applications; one asking the court to forfeit the bail bond and make the sureties pay the amount, and the other was urging the court for an order to hold the trial in absentia.


Justice Asare-Botwe, in her ruling, held that the court had already established that the accused has absconded, and it was on that basis that it ordered the sureties to pay the bail sum to the state.

She concluded that the accused has absconded and ought to be tried in absentia, grounding her decision on Article 19:3(a) of the 1992 Constitution which states that the trial of a person charged with a criminal offence shall take place in his presence unless “he refuses to appear before the court for the trial to be conducted in his presence after he has been duly notified of the trial.”

She said the court is “boldened court that A1 (Ms. Attionu) is well aware that the case is pending against her as she had participated in the trial for a year and half before she sought permission, not to go for treatment but to go for a checkup.”

Justice Asare-Botwe, therefore, ordered that under Article 19:3(a) Ms. Attionu would be tried in absentia since she has disabled herself of the opportunity to be tried in her presence, since she was duly notified and aware of the pendency of the trial.

She also ordered that a copy of the notice for the continuation of the trial in her absence should be served on Agbesi Dzakpasu, her lawyer of record, and also by posting of a copy of the notice at her last known place of abode in Accra.

The court further ordered a posting of the order on the notice board of the Accra High Court as well as a single publication in a newspaper of national circulation and the posting shall be for 21 days. The court subsequently adjourned the case to March 28, 2023.

Meanwhile, Justice Asare-Botwe has ordered Daniel Axim to inform his counsel to be present in court at the next sitting to conclude his remaining two hours cross-examination else the accused person would conduct the cross-examination himself.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak