Thursday, April 22, 2021

Ghana: Defunct Capital Bank CEO, MD and others face allegations of money laundering and theft

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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).”

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“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”.

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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.

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.

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