The CEO and Managing Director of the now-defunct Capital Bank, Mr Ato Essien and Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, as well as two others – Kate Quartey-Papafio and Tetteh Nettey – have been charged with stealing and money laundering by the state.
They are facing 26 different counts of charges.
Among others, the state is accusing Mr Essien and Tetteh Nettey of conspiring “to steal contrary to sections 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).”
“William Ato Essien and Tetteh Nettey between October and November 2015 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region agreed to act together with a common purpose to steal the sum of GHS100,000,000, property of Capital Bank Limited,” portions of the writ read.
Count two is abetment of crime, namely, stealing contrary to section 20 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29).
“Fitzgerald Odonkor, between October and November 2015 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region, abetted William Ato Essien and Tetteh Nettey to dishonestly appropriate the sum of GHS100,000,000, the property of Capital Bank Limited”
“Fitzgerald Odonkor, in September 2015 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region abetted William Ato Essien to dishonestly appropriate the sum of GHS5,000,000, the property of Capital Bank Limited. William Ato Essien in September 2015 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region dishonestly appropriated the sum of GHS12,000,000, the property of Capital Bank Limited,” the writ said.
As far as the money laundering charge is concerned, the writ said: “Mr Essien and Kate Quartey-Papafio, between June and August 2017 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region, disguised the sum of GHS70,000,000 knowing it to be proceeds of crime”.
Mr Essien, about three weeks ago, said Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta proposed to buy Capital Bank in 2016.
He told Paul Adom-Otchere on the Good Evening Ghana programme on Metro TV: “If the bank [were] that bad, would the current Finance Minister and the Board Chairman of Enterprise, Keli Gadzekpo, come to my office to say: 'We are interested to buy Capital Bank? Ken Ofori-Atta came to my office in 2016 to make that proposal”.
Mr Essien also dismissed claims that the Board Chair of the bank, Dr Mensa Otabil lacked the requisite knowledge to lead the Board and direct the affairs of the bank.
In a rejoinder through their solicitors Acquah-Sampson & Associates, Mr Ofori-Atta and Mr Keli Gadzekpo, a board member of the Bank of Ghana since 2017, denied the claim. In their statement, Mr Ofori-Atta and Mr Gadzekpo’s solicitors said: “The claim by Mr William Ato Essien against the two founders of Databank, a reputable investment bank, is plainly false, malicious and disingenuous”.
“Our clients reject and condemn the defamatory remarks and suggestions purporting to link our clients in a negative way with the banking sector clean-up process that was decided, implemented, led and managed by the Bank of Ghana”, the lawyers said in the statement reproduced in full below:
Accra, Monday, 30 September 2019
FALSE AND MALICIOUS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST MESSRS KELI GADZEKPO AND KEN OFORI-ATTA BY MR. WILLIAM ATO ESSIEN, FOUNDER OF CAPITAL BANK (IN OFFICIAL LIQUIDATION)
On Thursday, September 26, Mr William Ato Essien, the founder of Capital Bank (In Official Liquidation) appeared on Good Evening Ghana, a television interview programme on Metro TV, hosted by Mr Paul Adom-Otchere.
During the said interview, Mr William Ato Essien made inter alia, unsubstantiated and unchallenged claims, including a complete and palpable falsehood directed at Messrs Keli Gadzekpo (a board member of the Bank of Ghana since 2017) and Ken Ofori-Atta (the Finance Minister since 2017) (“our Clients”)
We have our clients’ instructions to respond to the said unsubstantiated claims and falsehood perpetrated by the said Mr William Ato Essien against our clients as follows:
1. We wish to place on record that neither Mr Keli Gadzekpo nor Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta communicated to Mr William Ato Essien an intention to acquire Capital Bank in 2016 as claimed by Mr William Ato Essien. The claim by Mr William Ato Essien against the two founders of Databank, a reputable investment bank, is plainly false, malicious and disingenuous.
2. In any event, it may be worth stressing that an expression of interest, prior to examining the books of a bank, cannot be stretched to mean or even imply an endorsement or confirmation that Capital Bank at that material time had a clean bill of health.
3. Our clients reject and condemn the defamatory remarks and suggestions purporting to link our clients in a negative way with the banking sector clean-up process that was decided, implemented, led and managed by the Bank of Ghana.
4. The role of the Ministry of Finance in the entire exercise was/is, primarily, focused on how to: (a) provide financial assistance within the country’s limited fiscal space to protect the funds of depositors; and (b) build stronger, healthier and internationally competitive Ghanaian-owned Banks.
5. It must also be underlined that the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, was/is not responsible for the events and/or decisions that led to the unfortunate collapse of any Bank in Ghana. His responsibility as Finance Minister was/is to manage the national economy and, more particularly the impact of such a major crisis – which commenced prior to the appointment of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister.
6. Mr William Ato Essien’s sensationalist attack on Messrs. Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta is false, unnecessary and diversionary.
Acquah-Sampson & Associates
Solicitors for Messrs. Keli Gadzekpo and Ken Ofori-Atta
Capital Bank was one of the local banks that went under during the recapitalisation exercise undertaken by the Bank of Ghana (BoG). The others include uniBank, Heritage Bank, The Beige Bank, The Royal Bank, UT Bank, The Construction Bank, and Sovereign Bank. Apart from UT Bank and Capital Bank which were taken over by the state-own GCB Bank, the others were morphed together to form the all-new state-owned Consolidated Bank Ghana.
The state said about GHS14 billion went into the bank clean-up exercise.