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Capital Bank Case: Business woman acquitted & discharged

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The Commercial Court Division of the Accra High Court has discharged and acquitted business woman, Kate Quartey-Papafio, who was charged for stealing and money laundering.

This is in the case where four persons have been dragged before the court for the collapsed of Capital Bank Ghana limited.

The four accused William Ato Essien, together with Tetteh Nettey, Fitzgerald Odonkor and Kate Quartey-Papafio, filed an application for no case after prosecution presented 17 witnesses and they were supposed to open their defence.

According to Court of Appeal Judge, sitting in as an additional High Court judge, the evidence put up by prosecution against the fourth accused, Kate Quartey-Papafio is weak to establish prima facie case against the business woman.

William Ato Essien, who was also accused of same offences was acquitted and discharged on counts 24, 25 and 26 of the charges, which means he will not appear to answer questions on those counts.

Kate Quartey-Papafio, who is the Chief Executive of Reroy Cables Limited was charged with conspiracy to steal, stealing and money laundering.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour in his ruling described her role in the events leading up to the collapse of Capital Bank as childish. He said as a businesswoman she did not exercise her business acumen in relation to her dealings.

The Court in its ruling found the evidence against the three other accused strong in establishing a prima facie case and call on them to open their defence.

The court initially adjourned the case to July 15 for the accused to open their defence but their lawyers prayed the court to give them time to study the ruling and come out with a stronger case against the state.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, in reviewing the directive said “I have listened to the submissions of the lawyers for the accused persons who been invited to open their defence beseeching the court for a longer time to enable them digest the ruling of the court to appropriately defend them as to their conduct of their defence. Acceding to their treaties I adjourned to 22nd of July 2021 to the period of 14 days which to the court is a reasonable time to make their defence.”

William Ato Essien, together with Tetteh Nettey, Fitzgerald Odonkor and Kate Quartey-Papafio, have been slapped with 26 charges for their roles leading to the collapse of Capital Bank.

The accused persons, who all served as executives of the bank, have pleaded not guilty to charges including stealing and are currently on bail.

Submission of no case

The accused persons who were expected to open their case after state prosecution closed its case with 17 witnesses on April 29 refused to do so.

They rather chose to file a submission of no case. This is a term in British Criminal law whereby a defendant (Ato Essien and others) seeks acquittal without presenting a defence.

A no-case submission is made when the defence considers that the prosecution case does not support a finding of guilt and that the court should dismiss the charge without the defence having to present a case.

At the last adjourned date, the court fixed May 25 for the accused persons to file their written submission of no case, but only two parties could file  – Fitzgerald and Kate Papafio.

Counsel for the two others pleaded with the court to grant an extension. The trial judge, Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour, granted their plea.

“I have graciously granted the extension of time for counsel for the second accused to file the written submissions of no case to answer by June 15. The Republic is to file a response to all the submission by June 18.

“The court has adjourned to July 8 to rule on the submission of no case to answer,” the trial judge directed.

Background

Capital Bank was one of the first banks that collapsed after a massive clean-up of financial institutions by the BoG starting in 2017.

On August 14, 2017, its licence and UT Bank were revoked by the BoG after the BoG had declared them insolvent.

The BoG allowed the state-owned bank, the GCB Bank, to acquire the two banks to protect depositors’ funds and enable them to stay afloat.

The hurricane that swept through the banking sector due to the collapse of the two banks heightened in August 2018 when the central bank collapsed five other indigenous banks and merged them into one entity — Consolidated Bank, Ghana.

Charges

The accused have been slapped with 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 (Act 749) and conspiracy to stealing contrary to section 23 (1) and 124 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

In all, William Ato Essien is charged with eight counts of stealing, eight counts of money laundering and three counts of conspiracy to stealing, making it a total of 19 counts.

Mr Tetteh Nettey faces two counts of stealing, two counts of money laundering and two counts of conspiracy to steal, making his a total of 6 counts.

Fitzgerald Odonkor, on the other hand, is charged with seven counts of abetment of crime, namely stealing.

The fourth accused person, Kate Quartey-Papafio, has a case to answer on one count each of stealing, money laundering and conspiracy to steal, making hers a total of three counts.

The state estimates that the accused persons have misappropriated GHC 262,500,000.00.

By Godfred Tanam|Ghana

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