A former Managing Director of the defunct Capital Bank, Fitzgerald Odonkor, has told the Accra High Court that repayment of placement of GH¢100 million with All Time Capital was approved by the board of the bank.
The accused said the GH¢100 million, which was part of the GH¢620 million liquidity support given to the Capital Bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was not a decision made by one individual but by the board.
Odonkor, who was also a member of the board, maintained that despite the board’s decision, “Management was however of the opinion that these placements will not auger well for the management of the liquidity support”.
Essien is standing trial with Odonkor, a former MD of the bank, and the MD of MC Management Services, a company said to be owned by Essien, Tettey Nettey.
The prosecution has accused the three persons of engaging in various illegal acts that led to the dissipation of a chunk of the GH¢620 million liquidity support given to the Capital Bank by the BoG between June 2015 and November 2016.
The accused persons have pleaded not guilty to various counts of stealing, abetment to stealing, conspiracy to steal and money laundering.
Odonkor is the latest to give his evidence-in-Chief in the case and was being cross-examined by counsel for Ato Essien, Baffuor Gyau Bonsu Ashia, at the High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor, a Justice of the Court of Appeal with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.
Again, the accused explained that he was not personally in charge of placements and investments by the Capital Bank.
Excerpts of cross-examination
Counsel: So Mr Odonkor, the board of the Capital Bank when discussing whether to place the GH¢100 million with All Time Capital was satisfied with the step that management had taken to secure the said placement with All Time Capital is that correct?
Odonkor: My Lord, the steps that management took were subsequent to the decision of the board
Counsel: The board of the then Capital Bank did approve that the said amount be placed in All Time Capital is that correct?
Odonkor: Yes my Lord.
Counsel: So I can confidently say that no single individual can be credited with the decision to place the said amount with All Time Capital since it was a board decision
Odonkor: It was a decision by the board.
Counsel: As part of your duty as the then MD of Capital Bank, and also a member of the board of the Capital Bank, you were not in charge of placements and investments by the Capital Bank Odonkor: No my Lord, I was not in charge.
Capital Bank was one of the first banks that collapsed after a massive clean-up of financial institutions by the BoG started in 2017.
On August 14, 2017, its licence and that of 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 in order to protect depositors’ funds and also enable them to stay afloat.
The hurricane that swept through the banking sector due to the collapse of the two banks further heightened in August 2018 when the central bank collapsed five other indigenous banks and merged them into one entity — Consolidated Bank, Ghana.