Former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Capital Bank, Mr William Ato Essien, has denied taking GH₵200 million dishonestly out of the GH₵620 million liquidity support given to Capital Bank.
Essien explained that he was not a management member of the Bank, not a signatory, and not part of the day-to-day operations of the Bank.
“I have no access to the treasury of the Bank,” he added. Essien, who was continuing his cross-examination by Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, indicated that he did not get any personal benefit from the liquidity support and that his personal bank account could attest to that.
The accused said it was factually incorrect that the GH₵200 million cedis he took from the Bank’s liquidity support made the Capital Bank insolvent. “It is factually incorrect because I am standing trial for GHC130 million and GH₵27.5 million cedis.”
He said from the total of the GH₵157.5, he legitimately earned GH₵27.5 as “Finder’s fee.”
According to him, since he legitimately earned the GH₵27.5 he had the right to use the same the way he pleased.
He denied that the money he allegedly used for his personal gains was also used in setting up Sovereign Bank and a company known as Ocean Spring. Essien said in his witness statement before the court that, the Board of the defunct Capital Bank duly approved the payment of GH₵27.5million cedis as his “Finder’s Fee.”
He said he found money to cater for the Bank’s financial challenges and was paid for the services he rendered.
Question: Do you have any appointment letter from the Bank to support the claim that you were the Transaction Officer?
Answer: “An oral agreement is as good as a written agreement. I have been looking for money for the Bank at the time I stepped down as the Chief Executive Officer. The Bank had never refused the money I found for it. I was contracted to find money and have done that since the year 2012.”
Question: “I am putting it to you that the GH₵27.5 million was used under the guise of paying Bank of Ghana officials who facilitated the disbursement of the GHC620miilion.”
Answer: “No, my Lord. I was paid my finders commission, and, in that respect, approvals were duly given by the Board in recognition of the successful achievement of the receipt of the GHC620million. This transaction was not the first time I had found money from a government institution for the Bank.”
Question: The first tranche of liquidity support was requested by Rev Fitzgerald Odonkor, the then Managing Director and Daniel Diapah, a manager.
Answer: It is factually inaccurate.
Question: Your response clearly shows that you did not play any role in the acquisition of the liquidity support.
Answer: “That is not correct. I acted as the Transaction Advisor.
Questions: “The contradictory answers you have given on record clearly shows that you were not the transaction adviser for the liquidity support.”
Answer: “We requested GH₵300 million from Band of Ghana, but we were given GH₵150 million. With the second tranche, we requested for GH₵450million, but we were given GH₵300 million and in the third tranche, we requested GHC450 million, but we were given GH₵170 million.”
The court presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, adjourned the matter to March 3.
This is to enable Essien to call his defence witness, one Dr Isaac Nyame.
Ato Essien and Capital Bank case
Essien and two others are standing trial in the GH₵620 million offered to Capital Bank by the Bank of Ghana as liquidity support.
The two are Fitzgerald Odonkor, the former managing director of Capital Bank and Tettey Nettey of MC Management Service, a company owned by Essien.
They are being held for allegedly conniving and stealing GH₵620 million liquidity support offered by the Bank of Ghana to defunct Capital Bank.
The accused persons have denied the offences and are on bail.