Don’t jail me if I fail to pay GH₵20m in April – Ato Essien appeals
Founder of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien says he should not be jailed if he fails to pay GH₵20million to the state by 28th April 2023.
He wants to rather be given the opportunity to explain why he has defaulted.
This plea is contained in documents filed by Mr. Essien’s lawyers challenging the 13th December 2022 decision of the High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor.
Justice Baffuor had on the said date convicted Mr. Essien on his own plea of guilty and accepted the terms of an agreement he had entered into with the Attorney General’s Office. Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Essien who was accused of stealing admitted to the offence.
He was required to pay an amount of GH₵90 million as restitution and reparation to the state within one year. This would see him pay an initial ₵30 million (which has been paid) and refund the remaining 60 million in three instalments. The first is due latest by April 28, 2023 while the second is on August 31, 2023.
Justice Baffuor warned that if there was any default in the payment or it even fell short of the required amount, Mr. Essien was to be arrested and produced in court for custodial sentence to be imposed.
But Mr. Essien in fresh court documents however points out that current economic challenges make it imperative for him to be given the opportunity to explain a default before any such move is undertaken.
William Ato Essien, Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, and Tetteh Nettey, a former managing director of MC Management Service, owned by Mr. Essien, were accused of participating in a 23-count conspiracy to steal GH₵620 million in liquidity support that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) provided to the bank to help it pay off its maturing debt.
The accused opened a number of bank accounts with Capital Bank, according to the prosecution, through which the GH₵620 million BoG liquidity support was transferred, while others were transported in jute bags to Ato Essien.
Meanwhile, the two individuals standing trial together with the founder of Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, have been acquitted and discharged.