The Commercial Division of the Accra High Court has adjourned to July 29, 2021, the trial of the Founder of the defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, and two others accused of stealing depositors’ funds leading to the collapse of the bank.
The two others are Fitzgerald Odonkor, the Managing Director of the bank, and Tettey Nettey, the Managing Director of MC Management Services, a company said to be owned by Essien.
They have been accused of conniving and stealing GH¢620 million liquidity support given to the defunct Capital Bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
They were expected to open their defence today (July 22) at the court presided over by Justice Kyei Baffour.
However, when the case was called, counsel for Essien, informed the court that he had filed a motion for stay of proceedings to be moved on July 29.
Consequently, Justice Kyei Baffour adjourned the case adding: “By court, in view of the motion filed by counsel for A1, for stay of proceedings this morning and slated to be moved on the 29th of July 2021, I will adjourn the suit to the said date, I accordingly adjourn it.”
Details of the motion were not made available in open court.
Revocation of licence
Capital Bank was one of the first banks that collapsed after a massive clean-up of financial institutions by the Bank of Ghana in 2017.
On August 14, 2017, its licence and that of UT Bank were revoked by the BoG, after the bank had declared them insolvent.
The BoG allowed the state-owned GCB Bank to acquire the two banks in order to protect depositors’ funds and also enable them to stay afloat.
Reason for the trial
The case was the first criminal trial in relation to the banking crisis that rocked the country in 2017 and 2018.
It is the case of the prosecution that the accused persons engaged in various illegal acts that led to the dissipation of the GH¢620 million liquidity support given to Capital Bank by the BoG between June 2015 and November 2016.
According to the prosecution, Essien, with the aid of Odonkor, transferred the liquidity support to certain companies either controlled by him or in which he had an interest.
It said GH¢130 million of the liquidity support was transferred to MC Management Services, which was later presented to the BoG as the initial capital to set up Sovereign Bank, another bank in which Essien had an interest.
The prosecution further 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.
“The money was purportedly used as payment for a business promotion,” the prosecution added