Prioritize loot recovery over jail time – Vitus Azeem

Anti-corruption crusader Vitus Azeem has urged the government to prioritize the recovery of stolen state funds over jailing those convicted of the crime.

His comment comes after the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe-Attionu, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor for several thefts that caused financial losses to the state.

MASLOC’s former Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Axim, has also been given a five-year prison sentence with hard labor.

The two were found guilty on 78 charges relating to causing financial loss to the state, theft and conspiracy to steal, money laundering and breaching public procurement law.

Mr Azeem argued that if anyone is found guilty of financial loss to the state, the first thing that should be done is to recover the money.

“As for sending the person to jail, that should be a secondary factor. That is punishing the person for the crime. The state should be interested in recovering the money, either in cash or in property acquired by the person over the years.”

“So for me the priority has to be getting the money back. “If you recover the money that was taken illegally and then of course the person has committed a crime by taking the money illegally, you can now go ahead and jail the person,” he said.

According to Mr Azeem, the investigation involving Sedina Tamakloe-Attionu and Daniel Axim should be a starting point because there are many people involved.

“The investigation must go beyond these two personalities. There are people who cooperated, there are people who conspired. There are people who tolerated this whole exercise and they should be brought to justice.”

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