Ex-Capital Bank MD denies approving payment of business promotion money to Ato Essien

Reverend Fitzgerald Odonkor, former Managing Director (MD) of Capital Bank, has denied that he personally approved the payment of business promotion money to William Ato Essien, ex-Chief Executive officer of the  Bank, after securing liquidity support of GH¢620 million from the Bank of Ghana.

Answering questions under cross-examination by Chief State Attorney Marina Appiah Opare, Rev. Odonkor said the practice of payment of business promotion sum was a norm in the banking practice.

However, he said, the practice was outlawed in 2019 in the banking sector.

Rev. Odonkor was answering questions in the GH¢620 million Capital Bank case, before the High Court in Accra, on Thursday.

He is standing trial with William Ato Essien, former CEO of defunct Capital Bank, and Tetteh Nettey of MC Management Service, a company owned by Essien.

Question: You knew all along that the money (Business promotion) was for the benefit of Essien

Answer: No, My Lord I deny this emphatically. 

Question: You will agree with me that payments of Business Promotions were not part of the conditions for the grant of liquidity support by the Bank of Ghana?

Answer: Payment of Business Promotion was a practice in the banking sector until it was outlawed in 2019.

Question: The Board Chairman denied giving approval for payment of Business promotion to Essien (first accused person) on phone

Answer: I am not aware of any such denial. Additionally at the various meetings at which references were made to the payments of business promotion in the presence of the Chair, he did not deny such approval. 

Question: You said that Capital Bank could not secure the liquidity support from the Bank of Ghana, so Essien (first accused) arranged for the bank?

Answer: Yes, my Lord.

Question: Capital Bank wrote three different letters to the Bank of Ghana applying for liquidity support. Is that correct?

Answer: Yes, my Lord

Question: When you applied for the liquidity support your expectation was that Band of Ghana will favourably grant your request?

Answer: Yes, my Lord.

Question: I am putting it to you that the first accused (Essien) did not arrange for the liquidity support?

Answer: No, My Lord. Essien was the one who arranged for the support, and he advised management to put in the request.

Question: In your evidence in chief, you said there was a sub-committee that met regularly to deliberate on the activities of the bank.

Answer: Yes, my Lord

Question: This sub-committee was not part of the management of the bank?

Answer: The subcommittee represented the interest of the board and management.

Question: The decision to pay business promotion to Essien was approved by Capital Bank at its meetings

Answer: Yes, my Lord.

Question: I am putting it to you that there were no board meetings approving the payment of Business promotion to Essien.

Answer: No, my Lord the Board approved all those payments. -GNA

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