Court directs prosecution to produce original MASLOC documents in trial

The Accra High Court has ordered the prosecution in the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), trial to produce the originals of the memos and supplementary documents in evidence by January 27.

The Court presided over by Justice Mrs Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe said the materials would be inspected by the defence and then tendered in evidence by the Prosecution witness.

It was after Mr Francis Bandoh, a finance officer at MASLOC and a prosecution witness in the case had given his evidence-in-chief and produced photocopies of those documents but the counsel for Mrs Sedinam Christine Tamakloe Attionu, the former MASLOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Mr Daniel Axim, a former Head of Operations had objected to the photocopies.

Defence counsel challenged that the documents were altered and that parts of the copies were not clear and so called for the originals.
Led by Ms Winifred Sarpong, Principal State Attorney Mr Bandoh was asked whether he would be able to identify the receipt which was shown to him by the Deputy CEO signed by former the CEO acknowledging receipt of the GH¢500,000.00 and he said yes.
Asked who is to acknowledge receipts when debts were made at MASLOC, he said it was the accounts office.

He told the Court that there was a sensitization project and Mr Axim was the key architect but the former CEO was engaged in most of it. Asked whether the Accounts Office, where he works played a role in the sensitization project, he answered in the affirmative, saying that any project that involved spending was monitored by the Unit including the sensitization project.

Mr Bandoh said any cash exceeding GH¢500.00, meant that a cheque had to be issued and anyone in charge of the project would send a memo to either the CEO or Head of Finance before payment, the CEO had to approve, then a cheque would be written on a cheque payment voucher.

He said the cheque payment voucher would have portions for the one who prepared it, the one who authorize it, the one who approves it and then the recipient before finance would pay.

He said he could not put a finger on how many memos were sent by Mr Axim but he made available photocopies of some documents he had brought to court.

Sedinam, the former CEO MASLOC has been charged for misappropriating State funds together with Mr Daniel Axim, also former Operations Manager of MASLOC. She has 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 has been admitted to a bail in the sum of one million Ghana cedis with one surety.

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

In 2017, EOCO conducted investigations into certain 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 MicroFinance Company located at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

Sedinam also offered Obaatanpa a further investment of GH¢500,000.00 and as a result, a MASLOC issued an Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) cheque dated July 24, 2014, in the sum, of GH¢500,000.00 to be drawn in favor of Obaatanpa.
The Prosecution said after Obaatanpa was issued the cheque, Sedinam informed the Board Chairman of Obaatanpa that the money would attract a 24 per cent interest so the company decided to return the money because of the high interest rate and issued a cheque to that effect.

Credit: GNA