Anti-corruption crusader, Vitus Azeem has urged the government to prioritise retrieving stolen state funds over jailing individuals convicted of the crime.

His comment comes after the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe-Attionu was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour for various acts of stealing that caused financial loss to the state.

Also, the former Chief Operating Officer of MASLOC, Daniel Axim, has been handed a five-year jail term with hard labour.

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

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

“As for sending the person to jail, it should be a second factor. That is penalising the person for the crime. The state should be interested in getting the money back either in cash or properties acquired by the person in the years.”

“So for me, the priority should be recovering the money. Retrieving the money that has been illegally taken and then of course the person has committed a crime by illegally taking the money, 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 a lot of people involved in it.

“The investigation should go beyond these two personalities. There are people who collaborated, there are people who connived. There are people who condoned in this whole exercise and they should be brought to book.”