Founder of defunct Capital Bank sued for the collapse of the bank has filed his defence denying misgovernance claims made by the plaintiff, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
William Ato Essien who was sued along with 15 other shareholders and directors has argued, a financial autopsy report which formed the basis of the suit against him was “arbitrary, unfair, prejudicial and against the rules of natural justice and offending due process.”
He was referring to the Boulders Report which chronicles how the failed bank’s founder William Ato Essien used depositors funds as his ‘personal piggy bank’.
The report said the defendants are responsible for ‘serious financial loss’ at the defunct Capital bank and have been sued to cough up 837million cedis.
In his defence, the embattled banker has dragged in the Bank of Ghana acussing the regulator of doing harm to his business reputation.
He argued that the monies invested into his bank by the Bank of Ghana in a form of loans for the struggling bank was being paid back according to an agreed plan.
The suit explained, the five-year duration for servicing this liquidity support had not ended at the time the regulator took steps to withdraw the licence of Capital bank.
This action, he explained in the suit has hurt his reputation for which reason compensation is required.
He is also asking the court to declare as null and void the decisions taken by the Bank of Ghana, to revoke the license of the Capital Bank.
Meanwhile the Judge assigned to sit on the case when it was first called yesterday recused herself.
The Commercial court 9 judge said was unable to preside over the case because she has a strong affiliation with the ICGC and its founder Pastor Mensah Otabil who are defendants in the case.
The case has consequently been referred to the Registrar of the court so a new judge will be assigned to handle it when the court resumes in January 2019.
The business of the day was to decide on issues raised by the Plaintiff’s lawyer against the multiple lawyers from different law firms engaged by Ato Essien with Samson Lardy Anyenini as lead.
Joynews can confirm that almost all 16 directors and shareholders sued have filed their defences challenging the claims against them. Pastor Otabil is represented by Yoni Kulendi while Thadeus Sory is for Otabil and Associates. A number of them are represented by Shadrack Arhin and other lawyers.
The receivers filed a suit against the directors of Capital Bank and its shareholders, accusing them of “breaching their fiduciary duties under the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179) and have caused serious financial loss to the bank’’.
They claim the defendants granted to themselves loans worth more than GH¢837 million, loans which remained unpaid.
The outstanding amounts allegedly owed by the defendants, as stated by the statement of claim, were: Essien, GH¢468,405,126; Osei-Akoto, GH¢36,664,299; Enchill, GH¢73,627,898; Atta Ghansah, GH¢36,664,299; Otabil & Associates /ICGC, GH¢51,629,319; Ayisi-Ahwireng, GH¢4,113,330; Kofi Mensah, GH¢15,713,271; Obeng Donkor, GH¢14,965,020, and Osah-Thompson-Mensah, GH¢24,692,283.
Apart from these outstanding amounts, the statement of claim said Mr Essien took a loan of about GH¢108 million for himself and the companies that he owned or in which he had vested interest.
The receivers in their statement of claim demanded payment of the loan amounts said to have been disbursed illegally to the former directors and stakeholders of the bank
But the head Pastor of ICGC Mensa Otabil has filed his defence denying the claims made against him by the plaintiffs.
Ato Essien has since done same. In his 34-point statement of defence, a copy of which has been intercepted by Myjoyonline.com the 1st defendant among other things challenged allegations he breached company policies, regulations and statuses.
He stated that the “plaintiff does not have the capacity it purports to assert herein and therefore ought not be entertained by the honourable court at all.”
READ COPY OF ATO ESSIEN’S DEFENCE