Trial in absentia of Sedinam Tamakloe adjourned to April 20
The High Court in Accra has adjourned to April 20, 2023, the continuation of the case in which the former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedinam Attionu Tamakloe is facing trial.
Mrs Ationu Tamakloe, who is standing trial together with Daniel Axim, a former Chief Operations Officer, (COO), had since October 2021, been absent from the trial.
The court has since declared that she has “absconded,” and ordered the sureties to forfeit their sureties and pay the GHc5 million bail sum.
On February 24, last month, the court also granted the prosecution’s request for the trial to be conducted in absentia (in her absence).
In court on Tuesday, March 28, when the case was called for the first time after the court’s order for the continuation of the trial, the case was adjourned.
Lawyers of the second accused person, Daniel Axim, led by Lawyer Augustines Obour who was expected in court to complete his last two hours of cross-examination of the last prosecution’s witness wrote to the court for an adjournment.
Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge has adjourned the case to April 20, as requested by counsel through an official letter.
The former Chief Executive Officer of MASLOC and Daniel Axim, a former COO of MASLOC are standing trial for willfully causing financial loss to the state.
The prosecution had filed an application for forfeiture of sureties which had 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, on February 24, 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.
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.
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affair Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, Daniel Azim, was present in court.