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General News of Saturday, 22 September 2018


'Mahama girl' in trouble over GH¢3.1m MASLOC cash

The immediate-past Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) under previous Mahama administration is likely to face prosecution for alleged corruption.

Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, according to a forensic audit report, allegedly misappropriated GH¢3,193,592 and is therefore expected to account for the huge amount of money.

Ms Attionu and other former heads of six state-owned agencies have been cited in the special forensic audit report which has since been submitted to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, headed by former Attorney General Martin A.B.K. Amidu.

Apart from MASLOC, Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) have equally been cited in the forensic audit report for alleged wrongdoing.

Documents available to DAILY GUIDE showed that forensic audit was conducted by reputable international auditing firms into the affairs of those agencies and others where massive looting of state resources through procurements and deliberate stealing of money running into several billion of Ghana cedis were detected.

According to the auditors, there were massive breaches of the Public Procurement Law (Act 663, 2003) and the Public Procurement (Amendment) Law (Act 914, 2016) and mentioned some of them as “inflation of contracts sums and non-performance of contracts. Others include non-enforcement and breach of contracts.”

The auditors also discovered “breach of the provision of the Financial Administration Regulation, 2004 (L.I. 1802), such as cash disbursement without authorization, deposit of public funds into personal accounts and failing to account for accountable travelling allowances.”

Prior to the conduct of the forensic audit, there were reports of massive corruption at MASLOC, with Sedina Tamakloe Ationu’s name allegedly featuring prominently.

In the heat of the transition in 2017, an audit report cited the ex-MASLOC boss for allegedly withdrawing GH¢500,000 belonging to the agency.

According to the report, she allegedly invested the funds in a private non-banking financial institution called Obaatanpa Microfinance but reportedly failed to pay back the money into the stated accounts of MASLOC.

The report indicated that MASLOC invested the funds in a 91-day fixed deposit with Obaatanpa 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 Obaatanpa to terminate the investment and pay back the money.

It said that although there is evidence that the amount was paid as directed by Sedina, there is no proof 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 Ms Attionu.

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.

Tricycles Case

Another scandal that hit MASLOC, which is a microfinance responsible for implementing the government’s pro-poor credit scheme, was the award of contract for the supply of 1,000 tricycles to the tune of GH¢10,000,000.

It meant that MASLOC charged the taxpayer GH¢10,000 per tricycle when on the open market it’s being sold at about GH¢5,000.

The contract was awarded on November 7, 2016, just one month to the crucial general elections even though Ms Attionu wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) as far back as May 4, 2016, for approval.

It is not clear if the contract was executed in view of the change of government.

Documents showed that Crisjoe Company Limited, Spell Trust Limited and IEL Logitistics Limited were the beneficiaries of MASLOC’s alleged inflated contract through restricted tender.

Her lawyers, in a later to the media, warned all those circulating the stories about corruption allegations against the ex-CEO, threatening to sue for defamation.

Her lead counsel, Victor K. Adawudu, in a statement issued at the time, disclosed that “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.”

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