The Accra High Court is set to resume the trial of the former Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Mrs Sedinam Attionu Tamakloe, in absentia.
This was after the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe granted the request of the prosecution to have the trial conducted in the absence of accused.
Consequently, the case has been adjourned to March 28, for continuation.
The accused, who is currently in the United States of America (USA), is standing trial together with Daniel Axim, a former Chief Operations Officer of MASLOC, for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
Mrs Tamakloe had absented herself from court proceedings since October 2021, after she was granted permission by the court to seek medical care in the USA.
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, Justice Botwe said the first accused had “disabled herself of the opportunity to be tried in her presence.”
He said “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 court explained that there were two instances for which a person could be tried in absentia.
Justice Botwe said 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.”
The court ordered that a notice of the decision of the court should be served on accused and the posting of the order on the notice board of the court and at the last known place of first accused.
Justice Botwe 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, second accused, to inform his lawyer to come and complete the 2 hours cross-examination at the next sitting.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA