By Beatrice Oppon
A former Head of Operations of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, MASLOC, Daniel Axim, has denied allegations of conspiring with the former CEO of the company to steal money belonging to the Centre.
Mr. Axim is standing trial with the former CEO of MASLOC, Sedinam Tamakloe Attinuo, on 78 counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, stealing, and contravention of the Public Procurement Act, among other charges.
Mr Axim has opened his defence and tendered his witness statement.
He said that as Head of Operations, he received instructions from Madam Tamakloe Attionu to prepare memo for the release of funds to support her sensationalism programmes across the country.
He said per the custom of MASLOC, staff were to comply with instructions from the CEO, who is politically assigned, or risk being dismissed. Mr Axim said, being a public officer, he complied with the orders of the CEO, often approved by the Board of Governors, to draft memo for the release of the said monies.
He admitted collecting the money stated on the charge sheet from the Head of Finance, but said he gave same to Madam Tamakloe Attionu on her instructions.
Mr Axim said the practice direction at MASLOC did not allow the CEO to collect funds from Finance, so he takes and delivers same to her. He said Madam Tamakloe Attionu often visited the regions without him, and when she returns to make request for funds to disburse, he is unable to challenge the directive.
He said that in some instances where he joined the former CEO on the sensitization programmes, he did not see Madam Tamakloe Attionu disburse the monies to the participants and often told him that she would return to the region to do the disbursement.
He said he is unable to confirm if indeed she returned to disburse the funds. Mr Axim recalled disbursing funds after one of the sensitization programmes according to a list given him. He said he followed strict instructions in that exercise. He said he never dishonestly misappropriated funds belonging to MASLOC, and there is no evidence to suggest that.
Mr Axim said the money that passed through him were handed over to Madam Tamakloe Attionu, which she confirmed to forensic auditors.
Mr Axim also admitted receiving monetary support from the former CEO but explained that it was a normal practice as other staff also received such favour.
Madam Tamakloe Attionu has absconded and is being tried in absentia.
The trial continues on February 6, 2024.