BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | Mmuntalla.inusah@dailyheritage
THE FINANCIAL and Economic Division of the Accra High Court has granted the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Mrs Sedina Christine Tamakloe Attionu bail in the sum of GH¢5 million.
Mrs Attionu was on Monday granted bail by the court, presided over by Mrs Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, after she pleaded not guilty to 78 counts of causing financial loss to the state, stealing and contravention of the public procurement act among other charges. Her bail conditions include two sureties of persons who have no criminal records or persons who are not under any criminal investigation.
Daniel Axim, the Operations Manager of MASLOC at the Southern Sector, also pleaded not guilty to all counts and was also granted bail in the sum of GHc1m with a surety.
They are to deposit their passport to the Registrar and alert the court anytime they want to travel.
Request for correction refused
Justice Asare-Botwe also turned down a request from the Attorney General (AG), Ms Gloria Afua Akufo to correct the numbering of the charges which is number up to 80 instead of 78.
The court said the material effect of the amendment the state was seeking to correct will have no material effect on the substance before the court.
The court said it was only a clerical error and the case could go on without any challenge.
The court said if the request was granted, it may have to adjourn for another extra hour to take the plea of the accused person.
Case management conference
The court also directed the Attorney General to furnish the defence team with all relevant materials it would rely on in the case for speedy trial 10 clear days beginning from Tuesday February 5, 2019.
The court, however, ordered that copies both in hard and soft copies be given to the defence team so that they would prepare their defence before the parties appear for the case management conference in the judge’s chamber on March 4, 2019.
The two accused persons made their first appearance before the Financial and Tax High Court two where their charges were read to them before their pleas were taken.
The former MASLOC boss, who is the first accused person, was represented by Lawyer Agbesi Dzakpasu, and Mr Axim, the second accused person by Lawyer Alfred Agyei Mensah.
Present in court were some top members of the opposition National Democratic Congress including Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong, both former AG, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, former minister of state, Mr Kojo Bonsu, Kwadwo Twum Boafo, Elikplim Agbemava and a host of others.
The 1st accused person was the CEO of 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.
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 Keelson.
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 48 to 51.
The counts were thus reduced to 78 instead of 80. The two accused persons on the application of their lawyers were granted bail to the tune of 5 GHc 5m 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 or persons subject to criminal prosecution currently in any Court of law.
The two accused persons are to deposit their passports with the registry of the Court.
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.