William Ato Essien’s case adjourned to December 13

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Mr William Ato Essien
Mr William Ato Essien

An Accra High Court has adjourned to December 13, the case of William Ato Essien former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Capital Bank and two others being held over the loss of GHS620 million.

The court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge was expected to deliver its judgement today after three years of trial

However, when the court sat today, the trial judge indicated that the Registrar of the Court had drawn his attention to the terms of settlement between Essien and the Republic in relation to the Court’s Act, Act 459, Section 35, which had to do with restitution and reparation in criminal matters.

The court, in its ruling on the settlement terms, held that the law on restitution and reparation was not applicable in the instant case and found the agreement reached between the state and Essien complex and unacceptable.
The trial Judge, therefore, adjourned the matter for the state and Essien’s lawyers to address him properly on the terms of the settlement.

He explained that the issues of restitution and reparation could be considered before the trial commences or during the trial.

The court therefore questioned the basis for the restitution or reparation in the instant matter before it.
It noted that Essien had agreed to plead guilty to the offences and refund an amount of GHC90 million he allegedly stole in the year 2015 and 2016

The court said Essien had already refunded GHC 30 million cedis to the state.
However, the state in considering the settlement terms did consider the value of the depreciated money over the years.

According to the court, it was important for the state to consider the value of the money in relation to the current exchange rates.

The trial judge held that if the accused could refund the money without paying interest, that would amount to partial restitution and make committing crime attractive.

The agreement should not appear to have outwitted the state in the crime.
It noted that the money in question was for the depositors and shareholder of defunction capital bank although the Bank of Ghana was the complainant in the case.

Essien is standing trial with Fitzgerald Odonkor, a former MD of Capital bank and Tettey Nettey, MD of MC Management Services, a company allegedly owned by Essien.

The accused persons were said to have misappropriated GHS620 million liquidity support offered by the Bank of Ghana to Capital Bank.

They have denied the various charges namely stealing, abetment of crime, conspiracy to steal and money laundering.

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