Regional

Capital Bank case: Businesswoman acquitted and discharged

The Commercial Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour has ordered the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the defunct Capital Bank William Ato Essien and two others to open their defence and answer to charges including stealing.

This was after the court had dismissed their respective submissions of no case filed in the ongoing trial.

The three Ato Essien, Tetteh Nettey and Fitzgerald Odonkor who have been accused of charges including stealing have all pleaded not guilty and have been admitted to bail.

The fourth Accused person Kate Quartey-Papafio, a Businesswomen who was also charged with stealing and Money laundering has been acquitted and discharged.

On April 29, the state closed its case after calling 17 witnesses to prove its case.

But, the accused persons Ato Essien, Tetteh Nettey, Fitzgerald Odonkor and Kate Quartey-Papafio, who were to open their defence filed respective applications for submissions of no case.

In court on Thursday, July 8, Justice Kyei Baffour, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge ruled that the State has led sufficient evidence that warrants the accused persons to be invited to open their defence.

The First to Third accused persons have been asked to open their defence in the first 23 counts.

Ato Essien and Kate Quartey-Papafio were acquitted on counts 24 to 26.

With the case before the court, the accused persons are facing respective charges of 26 with Ato Essien (A1) facing 19 of the total charges, Tetteh Nettey (A2) and Fitzgerald Odonkor (A3) are on six charges while Kate Quartey-Papafio, (A4) faced three counts of charges.

To this end, the court has called on all the three accused persons to open their defence.

According to the court, the state has been able to establish a prima facie case against the first to third accused persons.

The court said the prosecution has proven with sufficient evidence that the charges from counts 1 to 23 have been proven.

The submission of no case to answer by the first to third accused persons were dismissed.

Acquitted and discharged

The court however ruled that the prosecution failed to lead sufficient evidence against Kate Kate Quartey-Papafio, a Businesswoman who was the fourth accused person.

She was therefore acquitted and discharged, meaning she walks home a free woman.

The court which initially fixed July 15 for first to third accused persons to open their defence, changed the date to July 22.

Request for time

Following a request from the lawyers for more time to prepare, the court changed the date to July 22.

“I have listened to the submissions of the lawyers for the accused persons who have been invited to open their defence beseeching the court for a longer time to enable them to digest the ruling of the court to appropriately inform them as to the conduct of their defence. I accede to their entreaties and instead of the 15 July 2021, I adjourned to July 22 to provide them with the period of at least 14 days which in the opinion of the court is a reasonable time to mount their defence.

Charges

A careful analysis of the charge sheet of the State indicates that the four (4) accused persons have been charged with a total of 26 counts.

The charges are Conspiracy to Steal contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), Abetment of Crime namely Stealing contrary to section 20 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), Stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), and Money Laundering contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act749).

In all, William Ato Essien is charged with eight (8) counts of Stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), eight (8) counts of Money Laundering contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act749) and three (3) counts Conspiracy to Steal contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), making it a total of 19 counts that are applicable to him.

Tetteh Nettey, according to the charge sheet, faces two (2) counts of Stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), two (2) counts of Money Laundering contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of the Anti – Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act749) and two (2) counts Conspiracy to Steal contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), making his a total of 6 counts.

Fitzgerald Odonkor on the other hand is charged with seven (7) counts of Abetment of Crime namely Stealing contrary to section 20 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

The fourth accused person, Kate Quartey-Papafio, has a case to answer on one (1) count each of Stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), Money Laundering contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act749) and Conspiracy to Steal contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), making hers a total of three (3) counts. The State estimates that the accused persons have misappropriated about two hundred and sixty-two million, five hundred thousand Ghana Cedis (262,500,000.00).

Source: Kasapafmonline.com

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