William Ato Essien
An Accra High Court has been forced to adjourn the trial of Founder and Chief Executive Officer of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, after the court was informed the accused person is suffering from a sleep disorder.
Mr. Essien was expected to continue his examination-in-chief after opening his defence on November 4, 2021, in the trial in which he and two others have been accused of stealing money from the defunct bank.
But the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor, a Court of Appeal judge siting as an additional High Court judge indicated that he had received a letter from one Dr. Rex Kwame Bonsu of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital indicating that Ato Essien was suffering from obstructive sleep disorder (Apnea).
He said the letter also indicated that the accused person’s blood pressure is also fluctuating.
Although Justice Kyei Baffuor was sympathetic with Mr. Essien, he said the situation is not enough excuse for the accused person to absent himself from the trial.
The court also expressed concern about the snail pace approach adopted by Mr. Essien in his defence and subsequently ordered all the accused persons to file their witness statements as well as statements of witnesses they intend to call before December 7, 2021.
The case was adjourned to December 9.
Ato Essien alongside the defunct bank’s former Managing Director, Fitzgerald Odonkor as well as Tetteh Nettey, a former Managing Director of MC Management Service owned by Mr. Essien have been charged with 23 counts of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
The three (3) are alleged to have misappropriated a total of GH¢620 million liquidity support given to the private bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), to enable it to service its maturing debts.
The accused persons, according to the prosecution, opened various bank accounts with Capital Bank through which the GH¢620 million BoG liquidity support was transferred, while others were carried in jute bags, popularly known as ‘Ghana Must Go’, to Ato Essien.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak