Sedinam Tamakloe Attionu
The immediate-past Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, who is being held responsible for alleged financial malfeasance, has hit back at her accusers.
Sedina Tamakloe Attionu is threatening legal action against all those commenting on an audit report that focused on her dealings at MASLOC, because her lawyers say it’s defamatory.
According to a forensic audit report, Sedina Tamakloe Ationu, an appointee of then President Mahama, allegedly withdrew ¢500,000 belonging to MASLOC and invested it in a private non-banking financial institution called Obaatampa Microfinance but reportedly failed to pay back into the stated accounts of MASLOC.
The report indicated that MASLOC invested the amount in a 91-day fixed deposit with Obaatampa Microfinance Ltd at an interest rate of 26% per annum in July 2014, but the former CEO allegedly wrote a letter on August 28, 2014 instructing Obaatampa to terminate the investment and pay back the amount.
It said that although there is evidence that the amount was paid as directed by Sedina Tamakloe Ationu, there is however no evidence of the amount having been paid back into the accounts of MASLOC.
“Mrs Sedina Tamakloe should be held responsible for the refund of the amount of GH¢500,000 with interest in accordance with regulations 61(5) of the Financial Management Act, 2003 (654),” the auditors recommended.
According to the report, over GH¢2 million was approved in 2016 for the implementation of sensitization programmes across the country but that cannot be accounted for under Sedina Tamakloe Ationu.
The report said based on the budget, MASLOC planned outreach programmes in all 10 regions in 2016 and a budget of GH¢1,706,000 was approved by the then MASLOC Board at its 27th general meeting held on April 26, 2016 for the implementation of those programmes.
However, Sedina Tamakloe Attionu’s lawyers have fired back, warning that all those circulating the story might be sued for defamation.
Her lead counsel, Victor K. Adawudu, in a statement yesterday said “the said publication contains statements that are highly defamatory of our client and calculated to ridicule her person in the eyes of decent-thinking people and society as a whole.”
“It must be observed that sometime last year whilst our client was overseas, an invitation letter from the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to her was reported in the media, and upon her return, she honoured the said invitation with her lawyers and various allegations were made against our client.”
According to the lawyers, “The said allegations were denied by our client and she gave a statement to that effect to the investigative agency (EOCO). It is our belief that EOCO, as the investigative body, is doing its professional work within the ambit of the law.”
The statement said “we wish to state that whilst it is the duty of the investigators to do their duty to gather evidence to complete their work, a private auditing firm by name Baffour Awuah & Associates wrote to our client to give them information and also respond to the same issues that our client had responded to at EOCO.”
“We found the request from the said firm curious and an attempt to elicit information from our client after the fact unacceptable. Upon our advice, our client declined the said invitation to participate in this private audit process.”
The lawyers said that “the process employed confirmed our suspicion that the said audit firm was being used to do a hatchet job as opposed to the professional work as dictated by ethics and the law governing the profession.”
“It is our duty to state categorically that there is no truth whatsoever in the purported publication being published in the media. For the avoidance of doubt, our client has denied all allegations leveled against her and we wish to reiterate that our client did not misappropriate any funds of MASLOC during her tenure as Chief Executive Officer.”
“We have the instructions of our client to commence legal action against all persons and corporate entities publishing these defamatory statements about our client with the sole purpose to destroy her hard-earned professional reputation built over her working life of over 25 years.”
By William Yaw Owusu