Ato Essien shed tears as he recounts prospects of collapsed Capital Bank

File photo
File photo

William Ato Essien, former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Capital Bank, shed tears as he recounted how the government took over the bank just as “it was growing to become a household name in the country.”

He said,”There was absolutely no doubt that all that was required was just a matter of time and Capital bank would have become a household name in the country.”

Continuing with his evidence in chief at the High Court (Commercial Division) in the GHS620 million bank scandal, Essien said it was capital bank’s product dubbed Speed banking which metamorphosed into Momo by MTN, Tigocash by AirtelTigo and Vodacash by Vodafone.

At this juncture, Essien was given paper tissue by a female lawyer to wipe his tears and the Court also provided him with a bottle of water while in the dock.

Essien noted that in the first year of the bank’s operation in Ghana in the year 2013, “We had a customer base of 120,000 current account holders.

This was an unprecedented achievement that has never happened in any bank at its infant stage.”

The accused noted that Capital Bank’s Cedi PE product was so successful to the extent that customers began to deposit money by buying a scratch card as a means of payment.

Essien further told the Court that in 2016, Capital Bank was adjudged as the fastest growing bank adding that according to a report of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) in the later part of 2016 rated Capital bank as number eight (8) among the community of banks in Ghana.

“Capital Bank was on its way to drive the first and foremost innovative product in reference to the first bank in Ghana that ever put money on the mobile phone.

He recounted that a BOG report released recently, indicated that mobile money had hit a whopping GHS100 billion by way of transaction in just a month.
The accused said Capital Bank had five objectives which included the provision of timely and relevant financial solutions to Small Medium Enterprises, eradication of financial illiteracy through organised workshops.

Again, Capital Bank wanted to increase access to the unbanked as well as graduate Micro and Small Enterprises to Medium and large Enterprises.

“Even at the Savings and Loan Level, we were the first to have issued cheque books and ATM Cards in all of our 15 branches at the time.”

Accused said statistically, it had been proven that in the 24 hour cycle, the average person touches his or her phone about 1,800 times, “therefore a 21st Century bank can only define itself  and position itself  between these touches from the average use of mobile phones.’

Led by his counsel, Mr Baffour Gyawu Ashia Bonsu, Essien said Capital Bank thought of putting their operation in an app adding that “as far back as 2013, Capital bank started to work and put the entire operation unto an app and we were just about releasing it until the takeover.”

Talking about the roles he had played over the years, Essien said he had been a principal promoter of Ist Capital Plus Money Lending and Micro Finance.

According to him, he acted as the Chief Executive officer of Ist Capital Plus Money lending and Micro Finance from the year 2000 to 2008.

Essien, together with Fitsgerald Odonkor, then Managing Director of the bank and Tettey Nettey, MC management Services, a company, said to be owned by Essien, have been charged for allegedly stealing depositors’ funds leading to the collapse of the bank.

Accused have denied conniving and stealing GHS620 million liquidity support offered by the bank of Ghana to defunct capital bank.

The matter has been adjourned to November 18.

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