The Accra High Court has sanctioned a 15-year jail term for the founder of the defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, for stealing a whopping $90 million belonging to the bank.
Essien, who was convicted in December last year for stealing over GH₵90 million belonging to Capital Bank, skipped his custodial sentence after the court approved an agreement between him and the Attorney-General (A-G) for him (Essien) to pay the GH₵90 million as restitution to the state.
In the final verdict on October 15, 2023, the court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, disclosed that Essien has refuted paying the restitution to the state per the agreed terms with the A-G.
The agreement was pursuant to Section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459), which requires the accused persons standing trial for causing financial loss to the state to pay the said money and possibly skip a custodial sentence.
Sources say Essien was able to raise GH₵30 million of the amount on December 1, 2022, and per the agreement as accepted by the court, was instructed to pay the remaining GH₵60 million in three instalments, with the first instalment on or before April 28, 2023, the second on or before August 31, 2023, and the last instalment on or before December 15, 2023.
During the ruling, Justice Kyei Baffour disclosed that Essien had paid only GH₵7 million out of a possible GH¢40 million, missing the deadlines for April 28 and August 31 this year, bringing the total paid to GH₵37 million of the total GH₵90 million.
Justice Kyei Baffour, however, gave the final verdict that Essien could regain his liberty if he had paid the remaining sum of GH₵53 million, which is left for him to settle the state as reparation and restitution.
By Lawrence Odoom