The Accra High Court has ordered the two sureties who secured a GH¢5-million bail for the former boss of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, to pay the bond to the state for failing to produce the accused person to stand trial.
The sureties — Alex Mould, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and Gavivina Tamakloe, a brother to the accused person were slapped with a forfeiture of recognisance today (Jan 24) when the case came up for hearing at the Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe.
Per Section 104 of the Criminal Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30), if the two sureties are unable to pay the GH¢5 million bail sum, the court can order the sale of their properties to recover the amount. The Court will on February 7, 2023, make a determination on whether or not to try Attionu in absentia
Attionu is on trial for allegedly causing financial loss of GH¢90 million to the state during her tenure as the CEO of MASLOC between 2013 and January 2017. She has failed to show up for the trial for the past 16 months after being granted permission by the court to travel to the USA for medical treatment.
In November last year, Justice Asare-Botwe expressed her displeasure about the situation and issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mrs Attionu to force her to attend the trial.
Afterwards, the prosecution filed an application for trial in absentia.
It then followed up with an application for forfeiture of recognisance, which is directed at the two sureties who executed Mrs Attionu’s GH¢5 million bail bond to show any justification why they should not be made to pay the bail sum due to her absence from the trial.
The two sureties who executed the GH¢5m bail conditions for the former CEO of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) were first ordered to produce the accused on December 22, 2022.
The court subsequently extended the deadline due to processes filed by lawyers for the accused and the sureties.
However in Court today (Jan 24), Justice Asare-Botwe, who has been promoted to the Court of Appeal, noted that documents filed at the court indicated that Attionu would need a minimum of an additional six to nine months for a further examination of her medical conditions.
The Court in its ruling held that nothing in the medical report from the United States indicated that the accused was incapable of travelling, or not fit for standing trial.
She added that nothing in the report indicated that the medical examination could not be done here in her home country.
“The entire 16-month delay is more than enough time that has been given and I do not think anyone can complain about a 16-month delay.
“So I have the very unpleasant duty to order that the bond be forfeited to the state,” the presiding judge ruled.