Defunct Capital Bank case: Accused given more time to file witness statement

The Accra High Court on Thursday granted a two-week extension to the founder of defunct Capital Bank, William AtoEssien, to file his witness statement.

The court, presided over by Justice Eric KyeiBaffour asked accused to file the statement on January 10, 2022, but he failed to do so.

Justice Baffour, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibilities as  High Court judge,said “I am not impressed and if documents you needed to attach is in someone’s custody, the rules allow you to subpoena the person for the production of those documents,”.

 Mrs Marina AppiahOpare, a Chief State Attorney, said “we share the sentiments of the court” , and prayed the court to indulge accused once more.The case has been adjourned to January 27.

Mr Essien and three former executives of the defunct bank, Fitzgerald Odonkor, Kate Quartey-Papafio and TettehNettey are facing 26 charges levelled against them by the state.

Prosecution led by the then Attorney General (AG), Ms Gloria AfuaAkuffo, said accused engaged in various illegal acts that led to the dissipation of the GH¢620 million liquidity support given to Capital Bank by the Bank of Ghana between June 2015 and November, 2016.

It is the case of the prosecution that Essien was aided by Odonkor to transfer the liquidity support to certain companies either controlled by him or in which he had an interest.

According to MsAkuffo, GH¢ 130 million of the liquidity support was transferred to MC Management Services, which was later presented to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) as initial capital to set up Sovereign Bank, another bank in which Essien had an interest.

The AG alleged that between June and October 2015, Essien, aided by Odonkor, appropriated GH¢27.5 million of the liquidity support by carrying it in jute bags, adding that “The money was purportedly used as payment for business promotion.”

MsAkuffo also accused Essien of giving some liquidity support to his cronies in the form of a loan to be used to buy shares in Capital Bank.

The A-G said as part of the scheme to further dissipate the GH¢620 million liquidity support, Essien transferred GH¢ 70 million of the money into Quartey-Papafio’s bank account at Cal Bank.

Prosecution accused Quartey-Papafio of trying to withdraw the money in 2017, even though she was aware that Capital Bank had collapsed and was in receivership; adding that the withdrawal was  however prevented by the receivers of Capital Bank.

During his application for bail, counsel for Quartey-Papafio, Dr Dominic Ayine, a former Deputy A-G, rebutted the facts presented by the A-G.

Dr Ayine said “this is going to be the first case in the history of this country that stealing has occurred with the consent of the owner.”

He argued that the GH¢620 million liquidity support was essentially a loan that was granted to Capital Bank by the BoG, which was supposed to be paid with interest, saying “essentially, this was money belonging to Capital Bank.”

Dr Ayine said that per Section 60 of the Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992), there was nothing wrong with a lending institution giving out loans for people to buy in that institution. 

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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