An High Court in Accra has ordered the founder of the defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, and three others to open their defence in the case where they have been accused of playing various roles leading to the collapse of the bank.
Ato Essien and three other former top executives of the collapsed entity; Fitzgerald Odonkor, Tetteh Nettey and Kate Quartey-Papafio — were charged with 26 counts of criminal offences, including stealing and defrauding by false pretences, for their respective roles in the collapse of the bank.
Ato Essien last year had the opportunity to negotiate with the State on charges brought against him for his involvement or otherwise, in the collapse of the bank.
He said he was willing to refund GHS27.5 million, which he is being accused of using for business promotion, so that the charges could be dropped.
Counsel for Ato Eseien, Baffuor Gyewu Bonsu, told the Court GHS 1.4 million of the amount had already been paid.
A Chief State Attorney, Marina Appiah Oppong said they could not come to concensus when negotiations were initiated. She said the first negotiation was turned down because it was unsatisfactory. She added the state responded to a second proposal which was yet to be served.
William Ato Essien, who was also accused of same offences was acquitted and discharged on counts 24, 25 and 26 of the charges, which means he will not appear to answer questions on those counts.
Kate Quartey-Papafio, who is the Chief Executive of Reroy Cables Limited was charged with conspiracy to steal, stealing and money laundering.
Capital Bank was one of the first banks that collapsed after a massive clean-up of financial institutions by the BoG starting in 2017.
On August 14, 2017, its licence and UT Bank were revoked by the BoG after the BoG had declared them insolvent.
The BoG allowed the state-owned bank, the GCB Bank, to acquire the two banks to protect depositors’ funds and enable them to stay afloat.
The hurricane that swept through the banking sector due to the collapse of the two banks heightened in August 2018 when the central bank collapsed five other indigenous banks and merged them into one entity — Consolidated Bank, Ghana.
The accused have been slapped with stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), Money Laundering contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749) and conspiracy to stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
In all, William Ato Essien is charged with eight counts of stealing, eight counts of money laundering and three counts of conspiracy to stealing, making it a total of 19 counts.
Mr Tetteh Nettey faces two counts of stealing, two counts of money laundering and two counts of conspiracy to steal, making his a total of 6 counts.
Fitzgerald Odonkor, on the other hand, is charged with seven counts of abetment of crime, namely stealing.
The fourth accused person, Kate Quartey-Papafio, has a case to answer on one count each of stealing, money laundering and conspiracy to steal, making hers a total of three counts.
The state estimates that the accused persons have misappropriated GHC 262,500,000.00.
By Godfred Tanam|Ghana