Ato Essien, three others deny charges in Capital Bank collapse

William Ato Essien, Founder of the defunct Capital Bank, and three others whose roles allegedly led to the collapse of the bank, have been admitted to bail by the Commercial Court (High Court Division).

Essien, who is also a Majority Shareholder of Capital Bank Limited, Tetteh Nettey, Managing Director of MC Management Services, a company established by Essien, and Fitzgerald Odonkor, a former Managing Director of Capital Bank, were admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢200-million each while Kate Quartey Papafio, a businesswoman and Chief Executive officer of Reroy Cables Company Limited, was admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢75 million.

The four accused persons are to provide four sureties each who are of good character and are of substance.

The Court, presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, further ordered them to deposit their passports to the Registry.

It further directed the prosecution to furnish all the accused persons with the necessary documents, audios or video recordings that they intend to rely on during the trial.

According to the Court the State is to comply with the orders by November 13 and adjourned the case to November 20.

Essien is facing 26 counts of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.

The rest are variously being held for abetment of crime. They have denied the charges.

Defence counsels took turn to argue for bail for their clients. Mr Baffour Gyewu Bonsu, Counsel for Essien and Nettey, submitted that his clients had fixed places of abode and that before stepping in court, they were already on Police Enquiry bail.

Mr Bonsu prayed the court to admit them to self-recognisance bail.

Mr Justice Amenuvor, who represented Odonkor, prayed the court to admit his client to bail without any justification and Mr Dominic Ayine, the Counsel for Kate Papafio, said his client had cooperated with the Police and that the GH¢70 million given to Kate as loan had been transferred to EOCO and was being used as exhibit.

Ms Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who led the prosecution, did not oppose the bail but prayed the Court to order the accused persons to produce their passport to the Registry.

Ms Akuffo explained that during investigations the accused persons had not seen the charges.

She noted that things had changed hence prayed the Court to order the accused persons to provide sureties.

The case of the state is that between June and November 2015, pursuant to an application by Capital Bank, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) provided a total sum of GH¢620 million as Liquidity Support to Capital Bank to enable it to meet its capital adequacy ratio as well as enable it service the maturing debt of meditation.

Prosecution said in October 2015, Essien, aided by Odonkor, caused a transfer of a sum of GH¢120 million of the Liquidity Support to All Time Capital Limited, an investment management and advisory firm.

The state said at the instance of Essien and Odonkor, GH¢100 million of the GH¢120 million, which had been transferred to All Time Capital, was further transferred to MC Management Services while GH¢20 million of the amount was transferred to Pronto Construction and Supplies Limited.

According to Prosecution, the GH¢100 million, which was transferred to MC Management Services, was subsequently represented by Nettey to BoG as initial capital of Sovereign Bank while the GH¢20 million that was transferred to Pronto Construction and Supplies Limited was used by its Managing Director, ostensibly to purchase shares in Capital Bank.

Prosecution said again, at the instance of Essien and Odonkor, GH¢65 million  out of the BoG’s Liquidity Support of GH¢620 million was transferred to Nordea Capital Limited, described as an investment bank.

The State averred that of the Ghc65 million, Essien, aided by Odonkor, caused GH¢30 million to be transferred to MC Management Services, which was represented to the BOG as additional initial capital of Sovereign Bank by Nettey, with the remaining GH¢35 million being paid into Fidelity Bank Account of Bristling Services, a company established by Essien.

At the request of Essien, the GH¢35 million, which was transferred into the Bristling Account, was subsequently transferred to Capital Africa Group, a company owned by Essien.

Prosecution said the total amount of GH¢130 million represented as initial capital of Sovereign Bank was eventually channeled by Essien and Nettey into Capital Africa Group with less bank charge, and which they eventually dissipated.

Between June 2015 and October 2016, Essien, with the support of Odonkor, appropriated a total of GH¢27.5 million of the Liquidity Support, which was conveyed in jute bags to Essien and purportedly used as payment for business promotion.

Prosecution said in June 2017, in furtherance of the conversion of the portion of GH¢620 million cedis Liquidity Support, Essien caused GH¢100 million to be paid into a Capital Bank Account held by the Managing Director of three companies; Mariposa Enterprise Limited, Hardwick Limited and Volta Impex Enterprise Limited.

The state submitted that the three companies were purposely to receive the amount (GH¢100 million).

Prosecution said that amount was to be used by the Managing Director ostensibly as payment for 30 per cent shares in Capital Bank.

As a cover-up conversion, Prosecution said Essien prevailed on the Managing Director to submit copies of government payment certificates of the three companies valued at GH¢135 million to be discounted at GH¢105 million by Capital Bank, and to be used as collateral for the purported loan of GH¢100 million.

The State said Essien then caused GH¢70 million out of the GH¢100 million that had previously been paid into the Managing Director’s account at Capital Bank to be transferred to Kate’s account at CAL Bank Limited.

Prosecution said Essien and Kate subsequently caused the GH¢70-million to be further transferred into Kate Papafio’s personal account at Capital Bank, adding that the account was purposely opened to receive the amount.

Sometime in 2017, prosecution said after Capital Bank had received the money, Papafio, even though fully aware that Capital Bank had gone into liquidation, attempted to withdraw the whole amount of GH¢70 million but was, however, prevented by the receivers (Capital Bank).

Source: GNA

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