Ato Essien tells court: I’m a nation builder, an engine for Ghana’s economy

William Ato Essien, Tetteh Nettey, Fitzgerald Odonkor and Kate Quartey-Papafio have been charged with 26 counts of conspiracy to steal

The former chief executive officer of Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, has said that he is a “nation-builder and the engine of Ghana’s economy”.

Answering preliminary questions at the Accra High Court about what he does for a living, as posed by his own lawyer, Baffour Gyau Bonsu Ashia, who was holding brief for Thaddeus Sory, William Ato Essien claimed that he is “the talk of the drive of the Finance Minister, a true entrepreneur that creates out of nothing, a businessman with capacity to assume risk in other jurisdictions”.

Proceedings in the court commenced and were narrated later, with his lawyer asking him the following questions:

Q: For the purpose of this case give your full name to the court.
A: My name is William Ato Essien.

Q: Where do you live?
A: Number 626/12, 13th Close, South Odorkor Estate, Accra.

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: What I do is called a risk-taker, and in other common reference, they refer to what I do as the engine of growth for economies.

Spear of destiny

Essien further declared: “And so, my Lord, I could’ve easily said I am an entrepreneur, but what I do is bigger than that.

“My Lord, I could’ve said I’m a businessman, but what I do is more than that.

“My Lord, I could have said I’m one of the anchors as an active player, as an engine for the Ghanaian economy, but, my Lord, I rather submit to refer to myself as a destiny-carrier for this nation.

“I’m an avowed, determined Ghanaian who believes that the true test of nation-building cannot happen without the businessman, deep risk-taker, deep entrepreneur, but a destiny-carrier and a nation-builder carries all these.

“My Lord, my answer is taking this time and, with the greatest of respect, I’d like you to permit me to finally say I am a destiny- and a nation-builder. That is what I live for, that is what I pant for and that is what I stand for,” said Essien in his reponse.

Request to defer

William Ato Essien opened his defence at the high court today, 4 November 2021, after Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s court rejected an application by lawyers for the accused, asking the court to defer the opening of their client’s defence.

The lawyers argued that negotiations with the Attorney General’s Department were still ongoing with respect to one aspect of the multiple charges the state has preferred against Essien.

Rejection of defence argument

Justice Kyei Baffour noted in his ruling to reject the oral application that “a court must uphold the right of all parties and if a defence lawyer is not ready to uphold this right, I cannot waive this constitutional right”.

“Second, to be forewarned is to forearmed, as the saying goes. The court did give clear indications at the last adjourned date that, notwithstanding the stage … negotiations had reached, first accused was to psyche up his mind adequately to open his defence on 4 November 2021.

“I do not intend to rescind from this direction.

“Finally, the court is being told that the first accused is not well. This being a court of record and the claim of the first accused being sick not backed by any evidence whatsoever, I am entitled to assume that there is no evidence compelling enough to convince the court that the first accused is not in a position to speak,” the court said.

“For the above reasons and for economy of time, I invite [the] first accused to open his defence,” Justice Kyei Baffour ruled.


In all, the state has called 17 prosecution witnesses throughout the case.

Among the witnesses were Vish Ashiagbor, one of the receivers appointed to wind up Capital Bank; Michael Kwame Amoako-Atuobi, a former relationship manager for Capital Bank; Emmanuel Kontoh Arthur, a former general manager in charge of treasury at Capital Bank; Sharon Okwaa Boateng, a former supervisor of the cash management unit at Capital Bank; Benone Yaw Asihene, a former special assistant to the executive committee; Donatus Kwesi Freitas, an officer of the Bank of Ghana; Daniel Gaikpah, the former chief banking officer in charge of operations with Capital Bank; and Lawrence Otoo, a banker.

The other witnesses for the prosecution were Felix Koranteng-Asante, a businessman who dealt in installation of CCTV cameras; Peter Amadu Iliasu, the former chief executive of All Time Capital Ltd; Aseye Seyram Komla Akotia, a former vice-president in charge of investment with All Time Capital Bank; Kwame Achampong Kyei, a former chairman of Sovereign Bank; Edem Bart Williams, a former chief executive officer of Nordea Capital; Ali Seidu, the chief executive officer of Maripoma, Volta and Impex Ltd; Teddy Friko, the assistant to Ali Seidu; Chief Superintendent Ernest Frimpong of the Special Investigations Team; and Joseph Oppong, the investigator.

Facts of the case

According to the fact sheet, “The first accused person, William Ato Essien, was the majority shareholder of Capital Bank Ltd (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 Ltd.”

The facts further state: “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 [to] meet its capital adequacy ratio and to enable it [to] service its maturing debt obligations.

“In October 2015, the first accused person, aided by the third accused person, caused a transfer of a sum of GHC120 million of the liquidity support amount to All Time Capital Ltd (All Time), an investment management and advisory firm. At the instance of the first, second and third accused persons, GHC100 million 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 Ltd (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 Ltd, 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 continue: “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 were 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 third 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 Ltd, Hardwick Ltd and Volta Impex Enterprise Ltd – 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 Cal Bank Ltd.

“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 fact sheet sums up the position as follows: “Some time in 2017 after Capital Bank had gone into receivership, the fourth accused person, even though fully aware that Capital Bank 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 said after the state closed its case that they desired to make a submission of no case in response to the charges levelled against their clients.

Wilberforce Asare

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
99.5 in Accra, 90.7 in Ho, 98.5 in Kumasi, 99.7 in Tamale, 89.5 in Tarkwa, and 106.9 in Walewale
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected