Submission of no case: High Court to deliver a ruling in Capital Bank case

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    The Commercial division of the High Court is set to deliver on July 8, a submission of no case filed by defendants in the case of the Republic versus Ato Essien and three others.

    The four accused persons – William Ato Essien, Tetteh Nettey, Fitzgerald Odonkor and Kate Quartey-Papafio – have been charged with 26 counts of conspiracy to steal pursuant  to Sections 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29); abetment of crime, namely stealing, pursuant to Sections 20 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960; stealing, pursuant to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960; and money laundering, pursuant to Section 1 (1) a of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2008 (Act 749).

    The state closed its case against the four accused on 29 April 2021 after calling 17 prosecution witnesses.

    Lawyers for the defendants also indicated their desire to submit no case to answer for the charges levelled against their clients after the closure of the state’s case.

    The presiding judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal judge who is sitting as a high court judge, acceded to their request and gave timelines for the defence team to file their submissions of no case.

     Background

    The first accused person, William Ato Essien, was the majority shareholder of Capital Bank Limited (Capital Bank), a wholly-owned Ghanaian Bank which 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 establishment of the first accused person.

    The third accused person, who is 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.”

    Between June 2015 and November 2016, according to an application by Capital Bank, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) provided a total sum of GHC620 million as liquidity support to the Bank to enable it to meet its capital adequacy ratio and to enable it to service its maturing debt obligations.

    However, in October 2015, Mr Ato Essien, aided by Fitzgerald Odonkor, transferred a sum of GHC120 million of the liquidity support amount from the BOG to All-Time Capital Limited, investment management and advisory firm.

    Furthermore, an amount 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), at the instance of the first, second and third accused persons.

    “The  GHC100 million which had initially been transferred to MC Management Services was later indicated by the second accused person to BoG as initial capital of Sovereign Bank while the earlier GHC20 million was used to purchase shares in Capital Bank by the managing director of Pronto Construction.

    Again, GHC65 million out of the BoG liquidity support of GHC620 million was transferred to Nordea Capital Limited, an investment bank at the instance of the first and third accused persons. 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 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. Later, 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 a company owned by the first accused person called Capital Africa Group.

    The GHC130 million, which was indicated as the 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.

    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, as payment for 30% shares in Capital Bank. However, 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.

    Mr Ato Essien then caused GHC70 million out of the above 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 opened at Capital Bank to receive the amount.

    After Capital Bank had gone into receivership in 2017,   the fourth accused person, even though fully aware, attempted to withdraw the whole amount of GHC70 million which had been lodged in her account with the capital bank but was however prevented from doing so by the receiver.

    As at the time of today’s hearing, lawyers for the first, third and fourth accused had filed their submissions, except lawyer for Mr Tetteh Nettey.

    Upon request from the lawyer for the second accused person for an extension of time to file his submission of no case on behalf of his client, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour ruled that this should be done by Tuesday, 15 June 2021 (Tuesday). The state was also asked by the court to file its response to all four submissions of no case by 18 June 2021.

    “I graciously grant an 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,” the judge ruled.