An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour has changed its position and accepted the GH¢90 million repayment terms by the embattled founder of now-defunct Capital Bank, Ato Essien.
The Court on Tuesday, December 13, reviewed the arguments of the parties and accepted the restitution deal.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour last week disagreed with the settlement deal between state prosecutors and Mr. Ato Essien. The judge was of the view that the amount agreed on was not enough. He adjourned that case to today and asked the parties to appear before the court with legal basis of the terms of agreement.
In court on Tuesday, December 13, Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah Yeboah argued that the funds were state funds as the defunct capital bank has been taken over by the state and state funds expended to pay the monies of depositors.
On his part, Counsel of Ato Essien also justified the deal arguing that the state managed to get an extra GHS 30 million in addition to the GHS 56 million ‘outstanding money’ Ato Essien agreed to have stolen.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour after hearing the arguments of the parties accepted the settlement deal.
The accused has since pleaded guilty to the charges of stealing and money laundering.
Ato Essien and two others have been on trial for the past three years for their involvement in the collapse of Capital Bank. The prosecution had also accused Mr. Essien of misappropriating GH¢620 million liquidity support extended by the Bank of Ghana to help keep the bank afloat.
The prosecution and the accused in arriving at the agreement told the court they came under section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993, Act 459 (as amended).
Mr Essien is standing trial together with the former Managing Director of the Bank, Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, and a former Managing Director of MC Management Service, Tetteh Nettey, also owned by Mr Ato Essien.
Together, they were tried on 23 counts of criminality, including conspiracy to steal and stealing in connection with the collapse of Capital Bank in 2017.