Judgement in Ato Essien GH¢620 million misappropriation case

The High Court in Accra is expected to deliver judgment in the misappropriation case against the founder of now defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, and two others.

He has been tried for his alleged role in the collapse of the bank, with the prosecution accusing him of the misappropriation of GH¢620 million liquidity support extended by the Bank of Ghana to help keep the bank afloat.

He stood trial together with Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, the former Managing Director (MD) of  Capital Bank,  and Tetteh Nettey, a former MD of MC Management Service, a company also owned by Mr Essien.

Together, they were tried on 23 counts of criminality, including conspiracy to steal and stealing.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges all throughout the trial with Mr Essien maintaining at all material moments that he had Board approval for all actions he took.

His Lordship, Eric Kyei Baffour of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court Judge, is thus expected to deliver judgement in the matter on Thursday.

 Capital Bank was declared insolvent and its licence revoked for several financial challenges, including the misapplication of a GH¢620 million liquidity support from the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

Capital Bank was one of the banks that collapsed following the massive clean-up of financial institutions by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) starting in 2017.

Once in court. Mr Essien said the bank was “below the capital adequacy ratio.”

Asked to explain what that meant, Mr. Essien said “as per the ratios from the Central Bank, we were insolvent.”

He was, however, quick to add that his bank would have survived if the BoG had given the bank time and space to make things right.

“…it is a normal occurrence” in the industry and would have been rectified with an “injection of more capital” into the bank; a”classification of non-performing loans”, and a recovery from the bad bank to income surplus” he said.

He added that inadequacy in capital ratio was the only problem Capital Bank faced with respect to the Bank of Ghana.

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