Founder of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien has said he wants the court to give him an opportunity to explain himself should he fail to pay GH¢20million to the state by 28th April 2023 rather than jail him.
According to a myjoyonline.com report, this was contained in a plea document filed by Mr. Essien’s lawyers challenging the December 13, 2022 decision of the High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor.
“We are learning that William Ato Essien has filed an appeal against the decision because he is not happy that will be put into jail or face custodial sentence if he’s not able to pay the sum in the manner that he is required to pay,” Host of Joy News’ Newsfile programme Samson Lardy Anyenini said during to show on January 28, 2023.
“…As you know he [Ato Essien is required to GH¢90 million although he has paid GH¢30 million and he’s required by the 28th of April 2022 to make another GH¢20 million payment and he cites the current economic challenges as his reasons should he not deliver on the payment in the time that is required,” the host added.
In December last year, William Ato Essien pleaded guilty to charges of misappropriation of depositors’ funds and other counts of stealing, abetment to stealing, conspiracy to steal and money laundering among others.
This was after the court accepted the terms of the agreement reached between the lawyers of Mr. Essien and the prosecution to pay a total of GH¢90 million as a refund to the state.
Per the judge’s order 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 GH¢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 should he default in the payment or it even fell short of the required amount, Mr Essien was to be arrested and produced in court for a custodial sentence to be imposed.
But Mr. Essien in a “fresh court document 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,” My joyonline.com stated.
Capital Bank was one of the first banks that collapsed after a massive clean-up of financial institutions by the BoG started in 2017.
On August 14, 2017, its licence and that of UT Bank were revoked by the BoG, after the BoG had declared them insolvent.
The BoG allowed the state-owned bank, the GCB Bank, to acquire the two banks in order to protect depositors’ funds and also enable them to stay afloat.
The hurricane that swept through the banking sector due to the collapse of the two banks further heightened in August 2018 when the central bank collapsed five other indigenous banks and merged them into one entity — Consolidated Bank, Ghana.