The Judicial Secretary, has dismissed reports that the trial Judge presiding over the criminal case involving William Ato Essien and two others said the state prosecutors have been compromised for agreeing to some terms of a settlement with the 1st accused person.

In a press release dated December 7, 2022, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo said the trial Judge, Eric Kyei Baffour, did not make any such statement.

The release explained that the trial Judge rather “enquired from the defence lawyers whether the terms of the agreement entered between the State and the 1st accused person would not compromise the position of the other accused persons.”

The state prosecutors had entered into terms of agreement with the founder of Capital Bank, William Ato Essien to pay GH₵90 million in order to avert a prison sentence.

But the Court on December 1 rejected the terms of settlement between both parties, stressing that Section 35 of the Courts Act on which the settlement was reached is inapplicable in this case.

Justice Kyei Baffuor said even if the court agrees to the settlement by the two parties, Mr. Ato Essien should be made to pay the agreed amount at the current exchange rate with interest and not pay the same amount, which has devalued.

Ato Essien Trial: Court did not say state prosecutors were compromised – Judicial Secretary

He said in 2015, the average rate of the cedi to the dollar was one dollar to a little above GH₵3, but as of November 30, 2022, the rate at the interbank exchange rate was one dollar to GH₵13 cedis.

The judge said the settlement must not be done in a manner that suggests that the accused has outwitted the prosecution.

“He can’t pay the same GH₵90 million. What was the value of the money in 2015? And what’s the value today? What’s the exchange rate now? Aren’t we making crime attractive?”

The court adjourned proceedings to December 13 for the parties to convince the court of the issues that have been raised.

William Ato Essien, Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor and Tetteh Nettey, a former Managing Director of MC Management Service owned by Mr. Essien have been charged with 23 counts of conspiracy, stealing from the ¢620 million liquidity support given to the bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), to enable it to service its maturing debt.

The accused persons, according to the prosecution, opened various bank accounts with Capital Bank through which the ¢620 million BoG liquidity support was transferred while others were carried in jute bags to Ato Essien.

It was during reportage on this hearing that the trial Judge was misquoted as saying that the state prosecutors have been compromised.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.