The trial of the former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) will resume on March 28 after the High Court in Accra granted the prosecution’s request to try her in absentia.
Sedinam Attionu Tamakloe and Daniel Axim, a former Chief Operations Officer of MASLOC are standing trial for willfully causing financial loss to the state.
But, Mrs Tamakloe had for the past 16 months from October 2021, been absent from trial with the court coming to the conclusion that she has “absconded.”
The prosecution had filed an application for forfeiture of sureties which has been granted and another for the trial to continue in her absence.
Ruling on the application for the trial to continue in the absence of Sedinam Tamakloe, Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe said the first accused had “disabled herself of the opportunity to be tried in her presence.”
“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,” the judge ruled.
The court said there are two instances for which a person can be tried in absentia, the first is “if the person refuses to come for the trial after he or she has been informed about the trial,” and “If the person behaves in a robust way that disrupts the proceedings of the court.”
Justice Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge said, “This court is boldened that the first accused is well aware that this case is pending against her as she has participated in the trial for more than one year.”
The court after taking into consideration the ruling of the court earlier on the application for forfeiture made the following orders.
The court ordered that a notice should be served on her of the decision of the court to try her in absentia by serving the order on Agbesi Dzakpasu, her last known lawyer.
The court also ordered the posting of the order on the notice board of the court and at the last known place of the first accused.
Justice Asare-Botwe also ordered that a single publication of the order should be made in a newspaper of national coverage which publication becomes effective after 21 days.
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affair Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, the trial will resume on March 28, 2023.
The Court directed Daniel Axim, the second accused to inform his lawyer to come and complete the 2 hours cross-examination in the next sitting.