Court orders Ato Essien to answer 23 charges


Former CEO of Capital Bank William Ato Essien

The Commercial Division of the High Court of Accra chaired by Judge Eric Kyei Baffour ordered William Ato Essien to open his defense after failing to conclude negotiations with the state to pay compensation.

Former Capital Bank CEO William Ato Essien, as well as Tetteh Nettey and Fitzgerald Odonkor have been asked to open their defense in response to some 23 charges, including theft.

On October 14, 2021, the first defendant and his lawyers told the court that they were prepared to reactivate section 35 of the court laws and negotiate with the state for compensation.

The court therefore ordered that he be obliged to open his defense regardless of where the negotiations reached.

However, in court on Thursday, November 4, Chief Prosecutor Mariana Appiah Opare told the court that “negotiations have started and we are still there. We haven’t finished yet.

According to her, “they presented unacceptable proposals for the prosecution. Subsequently, just yesterday, we received a letter via WhatsApp not formally, to the office but to me personally that they accepted our counter-proposal which was communicated to them in June 2020. “

The prosecution said, “This letter has not yet been officially received by the GA until formal discussions have taken place with the lawyer and his team on these latest proposals.

“This is where we are now. But as indicated by Monsignor on the last adjourned date, wherever we have reached with the negotiations, the matter should continue.

Against proposal

Ato Essien’s lawyer, Baffour Gyau Bonsu Ashia also told the court: “We did indeed send a proposal to the prosecution which was totally rejected and communicated to us.

“Monsignor, on June 16, 2020, the prosecution rejected an earlier proposal that was sent for review,” he noted.

According to him, “the prosecution made a counter-proposal to our previous proposal. We went back to get the counter-proposal made by the prosecution and we sent it to them. “

This is the case of the lawyer who said: “Because this is a counter-proposal from the prosecution, we are 100% sure that it cannot be refused at this time. . “

He also told the court: “We sent the proposal via WhatsApp yesterday and I am following it with an official letter keeping in mind the essence of time.”

He argued that “Even though this tribunal has issued an order that, despite the outcome of negotiations, A1 should step into the box and open his defense, it is our humble plea that this tribunal is allowing us for the last time. to consolidate, which we have agreed.

GA response

Responding to the argument of counsel for the accused, the Attorney General said: “It is important to note that the accused’s proposal is for GHc 7.5 million.

She said: “nothing has been done so far about the other charges, even if the prosecution accepts their proposal, A1 will still have to respond to other charges.”

By court

Judge Eric Kyei Baffour, a judge of the Court of Appeal, said: “I listened to the learned state prosecutor and also attended the submission and prayer of the learned counsel for the first accused.

“I have taken note of the ongoing attempt by the first accused to take advantage of section 35 of the 1993 Courts Act (Act 459). I noted in particular the prayer that A1 has more time to conclude the negotiations and an additional date to open his defense.

The tribunal has no hesitation in giving the parties more time to continue their negotiations.

“But the court is unstable to accede to the request to defer the opening of the defense of the first defendant for a number of reasons.

1. The negotiations in which the parties are engaged do not cover all the counts for which the first accused has been invited by the court to open his defense and even in the probable case of a successful negotiation, l The accused may still have to open his defense with regard to the remainder of the charges which are about 20 also counts.

He will therefore not give any credit to the court in the good management of the trial to adjourn the proceedings to comply with the conclusion of a negotiation for which the parties can invariably come before this court for A1 to open his defense.

The question will be what would then have been the purpose of staying the trial when an accused is entitled to a trial by a reasonable trial as a constitutionally guaranteed right.

I have watched with deep dismay how the defense attorneys who are supposed to defend the rights of the accused are interested in violating the constitutional rights of their own clients to be tried within a reasonable time. The court must defend the rights of all parties and if the defense is not interested, I cannot waive these constitutional rights.

2. To be warned is to be warned and the court made it clear on the last adjourned date that, despite the state in which the negotiations have reached, A1 must calm his mind and prepare himself adequately to open his case. defense of November 4. I do not intend to deviate from that direction.

3. The court is told that A1 is not doing well, this being a court of record and A1’s claim being ill, not supported by any evidence whatsoever, I am entitled to assume that there is no not convincing enough evidence to convince the court that A1 is unable to speak. For the above reasons and to save time, A1 is invited to open his defense.