Court orders Essien, two others to file witness statements within 12 days

Accra, Nov. 25, GNA- An Accra High Court has given William Ato Essien, former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Capital Bank and two others, 12 days to file their respective witness statements they intend to use as their Evidence in Chief.

The Court said accused persons witness statements were to have all the necessary attachments that they intended to tender as exhibits.

Accused have also been ordered to file witness statements for all intended witnesses they intended to call.

"In the alternative if any of the accused persons intend not give a sworn testimony but a statement from the dock they are to indicate so and file those statements."

The Court ordered accused persons to comply with the order by December 7, this year.

The matter has been adjourned to December 9.

The order came after Essien’s lawyer, Mr Baffour Gyawu Ashia Bonsu had informed that the Court that his client had been hospitalized at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

Based on that, Essien who was to continue with his evidence in chief, was unable to attend court.

The Trial Judge indicated that if Essien did not take care, he would issue a warrant for his arrest and keep him till he finished with his evidence in chief and cross examined.

The Court noted it had been shown a letter purporting to have been emanated from one Dr Rex Kwame Bonsu at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The Court said, in the said letter it was claimed that Essien had been diagnosed with what the doctor claimed to be "instructive apnea".

It said the letter further indicated that Essien's blood pressure was fluctuating.

According to the Court, accused having opened his defense in respect of the charges preferred against him, same provided for an anxious moment and “these symptoms are natural products and I do not see this as a good basis for first accused person, Essien, to absent himself."

The Court said it had noted the snail pace approach that has been adopted in the delivery of Essien's examination in Chief.

"To avert further delays at the Court in the exercise of its powers and discretion, it made the above orders."

Essien, together with Fitsgerald Odonkor, then Managing Director of the Bank and Tettey Nettey, MC Management Services, a company, said to be owned by Essien, have been charged for allegedly stealing depositors’ funds leading to the collapse of the Bank.

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