Accra, Dec. 09, GNA- An Accra High Court has extended the time within which William Ato Essien, former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Capital Bank and two others are to file their witness statements and other relevant documents they intend to rely on during the trial.

“In the interest of fair trial and the need to preserve the right of an accused person to the necessary facilities for the preparation of defense, the Court would be magnanimous enough and grant defense for more than three weeks.

This is to ensure that at the next adjourned date, he (Essien’s lawyer) would have no legitimate excuses to put before the Court,” the Court said.

The Court presided over by Mr Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, therefore adjourned the matter to January 13, 2022.

“I will extend the time of filing witness statements to January 10, 2022,” the Court ruled.

On November 25, this year, the Court ordered Essien and his two accomplices to file their respective witness statements within 12 days

The order came after Essien’s lawyer had informed the Court that his client was suffering from sleep disorder hence he could not attend court to continue with his evidence-in-Chief.

This, the Court saw as a way of delaying the trial and ordered the accused persons to file their witness statements and other documents they intend to rely on.

When sitting resumed at the Court today (Thursday December 9, this year), Mr Baffour Gyau Bonsu Ashia who represented Essien, said his client was unable to file his witness statements and other exhibits as directed by the Court.

According to Essien’s counsel, his client had a challenge of securing some vital documents which they intended to attach to their witness statements.

“It is our humble plea and prayer that this court indulge or give us more time. On December 2, this year, we wrote to the Receiver of the bank asking for certain documents. The receiver has made no effort to respond to our letter.

We went to make an application compelling him to produce those documents. If I am given three weeks we will be able to file the witness statements. The first accused person does not intend to delay the trial, we want the matter to be dealt with expeditiously,” defense counsel said.

The two other accused persons namely, Fitsgerald Odonkor, the then Managing Director of the Bank and Tettey Nettey, MC Management Service, a company, said to be owned by Essien, did not also file their witness statements.

Their respective lawyers claimed they were waiting for Essien to file his witness statement before they did so.

Lawyers said they were holding their witness statements to their chest and as soon as Essien filed his witness statements, they would do so.

Essien and his two accomplices are being held for the collapse of Capital Bank.

The accused have been variously charged for allegedly stealing depositors’ funds leading to the collapse of the bank.

They have denied conniving and stealing GHS620 million liquidity support offered by the Bank of Ghana to the defunct Capital Bank.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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