It is emerging that, Stephen Amoah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), who is still reeling under the overage cars saga with Dextro-Impex Company Limited, is behind an audit report circulating in the media, accusing Sedina Tamakloe-Attionu, onetime boss of the same institution of causing financial loss to the state.
There are huge doubts as to whether or not, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) investigated the matter and cited Mrs. Tamakloe-Attionu for withdrawing a whopping GH¢500,000 of MASLOC cash invested with Obaatampa Microfinance, but failing to pay the amount back into the accounts of MASLOC.
The Herald’s contacts at the EOCO, are saying that, Baffour-Awuah and Associates, a private audit firm, notorious for fixing appointees of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its forensic audit reports anytime the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in power, was rather contracted by Stephen Amoah, to carry out the alleged audit being circulated in the name of EOCO.
It has also emerged, that the auditor report, did not capture any response from Sedina Tamakloe-Attionu, because the auditors failed to speak with her as is normally done with such reports by having officers respond to audit queries before final reports are released.
Stephen Amoah, who recently came under fire over the purchase of some 1,800 over aged Fiat Panda vehicles from a private company with a questionable financial capacity, is reported to have contracted Baffour-Awuah and Associates at very expensive amount, and made EOCO to assume ownership of the report to have Mrs. Tamakloe-Attionu prosecuted.
The Herald is n the process of obtaining the amount MASLOC paid for the report, which Mr. Amoah, has been vociferously speaking to, indicting his predecessor.
Insiders told The Herald MASLOC, could not get the Auditor General to do their dirty work, so they contracted Baffour-Awuah and Associates, and claimed it was EOCO, so they could have some document to circulate. It is not an EOCO report or a report from the Auditor General.
“It’s a report by an NPP audit firm Baffour Awuah and Associates to create the impression it’s an audit from the Auditor General, and leaked it to the media”, an EOCO official who spoke to The Herald, said.
Mrs. Tamakloe-Attionu, has denied the allegation of misappropriation against her and has threatened to sue any media house that publishes any defamatory articles about her.
According to her lawyers, “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.”
Portions of the purported audit report also claimed “Mrs. Sedina Tamakloe should be held responsible for the refund of the amount of GHS 500,000 with interest in accordance with regulations 61(5) of the Financial Management Act, 2003 (654).”
It also said an amount of over GH¢2 million for the implementation of sensitization programmes in all regions in 2016, cannot be accounted for. Her lawyers, have described the EOCO and auditors claims as defamatory, arguing their client is being persecuted in the media.
But a statement from her lawyers led by Victor Adawaudu, has rebuffed the claims saying “we also expect EOCO to adhere to the age long, tested and proven criminal processes if they are of the view that our client has done anything criminal and not to persecute her in the media.”
The statement released last Friday said 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.”
Baffour Awuah and Associates, gained notoriety during the Kufuor administration with several forensic audits conducted by them under the auspices of the Audit Service then led by Auditor-General Edward Dua Agyeman.
Organizations like the Ministry of Finance, Ghana Water Company, Ministry of Trade, National Vocational Training Institute among others, were audited.
It is reported that over 40 forensic audits performed at colossal amounts by Baffour Awuah and Associates on NDC officials, including Dan Abodakpi, who was later jailed by the Kufuor administration.
Baffour Awuah and Associates is said to be a small company owned by one Philip Baffour-Awuah; a direct cousin of ex-President John Agyekum Kuffour.
Mr Phillip Baffour-Awuah, had lived in the United States of America (USA) for a long period before returning to Ghana in the middle of the nineties.
Until the year 2001 when the NPP assumed power, Baffour Awuah & associates, hardly performed any meaningful accounting/audit function in Ghana.
None of the big name audit firms like Price Waterhouse, Deloitte and Touche, Authur Andersen recognize this firm, yet since 2001, the firm was charged with conducting all the forensic audits with the aim of indicting and jailing the NDC officials were accused of corruption by the NPP administration.
Below is the a Press statement issued the lawyers of Mrs. Tamakloe Attionu on the audit report.
PURPORTED AUDIT AND/OR EOCO REPORT WITH DEFAMATORY REMARKS.
We write as Solicitors for and on behalf of Sedina Tamakloe Attionu on the above subject matter.
Our attention has been drawn to publications of a purported audit and or EOCO report on various platforms belonging to the Multimedia Group in relation to embezzlement of funds and or malfeasance during to her tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of MASLOC. 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 Organized Crime Office (EOCO) to her was reported in the media and upon her return she honoured the said invitation with her lawyers. Various allegations were made against our client. 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 and within the ambit of the law.
We wish to state that whilst it is the duty of the investigator 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 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, especially by the Multimedia Group. 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.
For Multimedia Group to bandy around the so-called audit report and to create the impression that whatever has been stated in the report is sacrosanct is most unfortunate and regrettable especially when the said media group has set some standard as a credible institution.
We must observe that in as much as the media is to inform the populace, it also has the duty not to defame, destroy the reputation of persons and make malicious comments about persons that allegations have been leveled against since under our laws everybody is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law. We also expect EOCO to adhere to the age long, tested and proven criminal processes if they are of the view that our client has done anything criminal and not to persecute her in the media.
Meanwhile, 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.
Be advised accordingly.
VICTOR KWADJOGA ADAWUDU Esq.