The Commercial High Court has fixed 8 July to rule on the submission of no case made by the defendants in the case of the Republic versus William Ato Essien and three others.
The accused persons – William Ato Essien (first), Tetteh Nettey (second), Fitzgerald Odonkor (third) and Kate Quartey-Papafio (fourth) – have been charged with 26 counts of conspiracy to steal, contrary to Sections 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29); abetment of crime, namely stealing, contrary to Sections 20 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960; stealing, contrary to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960; and money laundering, contrary to Section 1 (1) a of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2008 (Act 749).
The state, after calling 17 prosecution witnesses, closed its case against the four accused on 29 April 2021. Following the closure of the state’s case, defence lawyers indicated to the court their desire to make a submission of no case to answer for the charges levelled against their clients.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a high court Judge, obliged them and gave timelines for the defence team to file their submissions of no case. As at the time of today’s hearing, lawyers for the first, third and fourth accused had filed their submissions, the outstanding one being that of the lawyer for Mr Tetteh Nettey.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s court, upon request from the lawyer for the second accused person for extension of time to file his submission of no case on behalf of his client, ruled that this should be done by 15 June 2021 (Tuesday). The state, according to the court, should also file its response to all four submissions of no case by 18 June 2021.
“I graciously grant extension of time for counsel for the second accused to file the written submission of no case to answer by 15 June 2021. The republic is to file a response to all the submissions by 18 June 2021. The case is adjourned to 8 July for ruling,” Justice Baffour ruled.
The 17 prosecution witnesses called by the state are Vish Ashiagbor; One of the joint receivers appointed to wind up Capital Bank, Michael Kwame Amoako-Atuobi; former Relationship Manager for Capital Bank, Emmanuel Kontoh Arthur; former General Manager treasury- Capital Bank, Sharon Okwaa Boateng; former supervisor of the Cash management unit-Capital Bank, Benone Yaw Asihene; former special assistant to the Executive Committee, Donatus Kwesi Freitas; officer of Bank of Ghana, Daniel Gaikpah; former Chief Banking officer in charge of operations of Capital Bank and Lawrence Otoo; a banker.
The rest are Felix Koranteng-Asante; business man who dealt in installation of CCTV cameras, Peter Amadu Iliasu; former Chief Executive-All time Capital Limited, Aseye Seyram Komla Akotia; former Vice President- Investment of All Time Capital Bank, Kwame Achampong Kyei; former Chairman – Sovereign Bank, Edem Bart Williams; former CEO Nordea Capital, Ali Siedu; CEO, Maripoma, Volta and Impex Limited, Teddy Friko; assistant to Ali Siedu, Chief Superintendent Ernest Frimpong; Special Investigations Team and Joseph Oppong; the Investigator.
The State was represented by Marina Appiah Opare, a Chief State Attorney. On the side of the defence, Baffuor Gyawu Bonsu Ashia represented the first accused person, Addo Atua for the second accused person, Justine Amenuvor appeared for the third accused and Godwin Tamekloe represented the fourth accused person.
Facts of the case
According to the facts sheet, “The first accused person, William Ato Essien, was the majority shareholder of Capital Bank Limited (Capital Bank), a wholly owned Ghanaian Bank which previously operated as a microfinance company. The second accused person, Tetteh Nettey, was the managing director of MC Management Services, a company established by the first accused person purposely for the promotion of the incorporation of Sovereign Bank, another brainchild of the first accused person.
“The third accused person, Fitzgerald Odonkor, was the Managing Director of Capital Bank from June 2015 to August 2017 and the fourth accused person, Kate Quartey-Papafio, is a businesswoman and chief executive officer of Reroy Cables Company Limited.”
The facts further state that: “Between June 2015 and November 2016, pursuant to an application by Capital Bank, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) provided a total sum of GHC620 million as liquidity support to Capital Bank to enable it meet its capital adequacy ratio and to enable it service its maturing debt obligations.
“In October 2015, the first accused person, aided by the 3rd accused person, caused a transfer of a sum of GHC120 million of the liquidity support amount to All Time Capital Limited (All Time), an investment management and advisory firm. At the instance of the first, second and third accused persons, GHC100million of the GHC120 million which had been transferred to All Time, was further transferred to MC Management Services while GHC20 million of the amount of GHC120 million was transferred to Pronto Construction and Supplies Limited (Pronto Construction).
“The sum of GHC100 million which was transferred to MC Management Services was subsequently represented by the second accused person to BoG as initial capital of Sovereign Bank while the GHC20 million that was transferred to Pronto Construction was used by the managing director of Pronto Construction, ostensibly to purchase shares in Capital Bank.
“Again, at the instance of the first and third accused persons, GHC65 million out of the BoG liquidity support of GHC620 million was transferred to Nordea Capital Limited described as an investment bank. Of the amount of GHC65 million, the first accused person, aided by the third accused person, caused GHC30 million to be transferred to MC Management Services which was represented to BoG as additional initial capital of Sovereign Bank by the second accused person.”
The facts further state: “With the aid of the third accused person, the remaining GHC35 million of the GHC65 million was paid into a Fidelity Bank account of Brietling Services, a company also established by the first accused person. At the request of the first accused person, the amount of GHC35 million which was transferred into the account of Brietling Services was subsequently transferred to Capital Africa Group, a company owned by the first accused person.
“The total amount of GHC130 million which was represented as initial capital of Sovereign Bank was eventually channelled by the first and second accused persons into Capital Africa Group, the first accused person’s company, less bank charges. The monies transferred into Capital Africa Group was eventually dissipated by the first and second accused persons.
“Between June 2015 and October 2016,” the facts further state, “the first accused person, with the support of the 3rd accused person, appropriated a total of GHC27.5 million of the liquidity support which was conveyed in jute bags to the first accused person and purportedly used as payment for business promotion.
“In June 2017, in furtherance of the conversion of portions of the GHC620 million liquidity support, the first accused person caused a sum of GHC100 million to be paid into a Capital Bank account held by the Managing Director of the following three companies: Maripoma Enterprise Limited, Hardwick Limited and Volta Impex Enterprise Limited opened purposely to receive the amount.
“The GHC100 million was to be used by the managing director of the three companies, ostensibly as payment for 30% shares in Capital Bank. As a cover-up of the conversion, the first accused person prevailed on the managing director of the companies to submit copies of Government Payment Certificates of the three companies valued at GHC135 million to be discounted to GHC105 million by Capital Bank, to be used as collateral for the purported loan of GHC100 million.
“The first accused person then caused GHC70 million out of the GHC100 million that had been previously paid into the managing director’s account at Capital Bank, to be transferred to the fourth accused person’s account with Calbank Limited.
“The first and fourth accused persons subsequently caused the amount of GHC70 million in the Cal Bank account of the fourth accused person to be further transferred into a personal account of the fourth accused person purposely opened at Capital Bank to receive the amount.
The facts sheet sums up as follows: “Some time in 2017 after Capital Bank had gone into recebivership, the fourth accused person, even though fully aware that Capital ank had gone into liquidation, attempted to withdraw the whole amount of GHC70 million which had been lodged in her personal account with capital bank but was however prevented from doing so by the receiver.”
Defence lawyers after the state closed its case indicated that they desirous of making a submission of no case to answer for the charges leveled against their clients.