William Ato Essien
The setting was October 2015. Capital Bank was struggling and would heave a huge sigh of relief after ¢610m bail-out money from Bank of Ghana landed in their account.
Bad banking practices meant Capital Bank had depleted its own capital, no longer able to meet the requests of depositors for their funds. And so when 610m cedis hit the account, it was “Thank you Bank of Ghana. Thank you,” they would say.
And so when the Board of the bank, a former Savings and Loans company, met on 13th October 2015, it was to decide what to do with the Bank of Ghana money.
Or put it more appropriately; What to do with Ghana’s money.
At that Emergency meeting, they dished out ¢27.5m to a Board member to hype the business. The word in the report was “business promotion”. While still under distress but having received the bail-out, the board approved an expenditure of ¢2.6M and $50,000 on “re-branding.”
The board also “ratified” a proposal to increase the fees and benefits of directors, including two first and business class air tickets for all members of the board.
Not done, some 130m was transferred to Alltime Capital, a transfer that needed some explanation from the CEO Ato Essien who said the transfers were “strategic,” and “highly classified information.”
The transfers were expected back into the bank by March 2016 – in five months, he said with additional assurance from the chairman, Dr. Mensa Otabil.
Alltime Capital, all this time, was however acting as an arranger for the transfer of the ¢130m to two other companies.
MC Management Services Ltd owned by one Dr. Tetteh Nettey and Abdul Rahman Abukari got ¢100m cedis and Pronto Construction and Supplies Ltd owned by one Paanii Tackie who got ¢20m.
While Alltime Capital got 130m, Nordea Capital also got ¢65m of this Bank of Ghana aid money to Capital Bank.
Capital Bank sat back to watch their money working itself up and working itself back into their hands.
After that October 2015 decision, another group of businessmen got a licence to set up Sovereign bank in January 2016. A new bank had found favour with BoG regulations and its new shareholders would herald another dawn in banking.
The shareholders were however familiar names – Dr. Tetteh Nartey, Abdul Rahman Abukari whose company, MC Management Services Ltd had only some three months ago gotten ¢100m cedis of BoG’s ¢610m to Capital bank.
This same company had also taken ¢30m from the ¢65m which Nordea Capital got from Capital Bank’s BoG money. MC Management Services Ltd therefore had ¢130m of the ¢610m public money given to Capital bank.
All you need to set up a bank in 2015 was ¢120m. The Sovereign Bank was set up using ¢111.3m of investments from MC Management Services Ltd as capital.
Of this ¢ 111.3m, more than ¢46m ‘belonged’ to MC Management Services Ltd’s owners – Dr. Tetteh Nartey and Abdul Rahman Abukari.
In the words of the report obtained by Joy FM, “the placement of ¢130m to Alltime Capital and ¢65m with Nordea Capital were a round tripping of liquidity support from Bank of Ghana to set up Sovereign Bank”.
MC Management Services had invested ¢111.3m which was expected to mature in February 2016. Capital Bank was expecting their 130m by March 2016.
Some ¢30m of MC Management Services investment into Sovereign Bank ‘owned’ by Kwame Acheampong Kyei who was Board chairman of Sovereign Bank was moved out.
He said this triggered his resignation because his investments were moved by the security holder MC ManagementServices Ltd without his permission. Questions have been raised about whether this money was really his and not Capital bank cash from BoG.
Questions have also been raised about whether the alleged shareholders of Sovereign Bank were simply just fronts for Ato Essien of Capital Bank who would then be the real shareholder of Sovereign Bank.
Within 19 months Sovereign Bank was no longer sovereign as Bank of Ghana announced, the bank set up with money traceable to BoG, was broke.
Capital bank despite all BoG support had collapsed 12 months before Sovereign Bank.
Capital Bank’s former CEO Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor has denied authorising the movement of some 195mcedis which were transferred to MC Management Services Ltd and Nordea Capital in October 2015. In fact, he says his signature was forged!
Joy News is yet to confirm if these monies were paid back to Capital Bank by the stipulated March 2015. But it can be confirmed the BoG has not received a payback of public funds it gave to Capital Bank before it went under.