Ato Essien fails to pay GH¢20 million - A-G asks court to imprison him
The Attorney - General (A-G) has filed a motion asking the High Court in Accra to imprison Willaim Ato Essien, the Founder of the defunct Capital Bank.
The motion by the A-G followed the failure of Essien to pay GH¢20 million of a GH¢60 million restitution to the state by April 28, 2023 as part of an agreement for him not to go to prison after he was found guilty of stealing over GH¢90 million of depositors fund.
A motion filed today (May 2, 2023) and signed by a Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson, stated that checks by the A-G at the Controller and Accountant - General Department showed that Essien was yet to pay the GH¢20 million as of last Friday, April 28, 2023.
It is the case of the A-G that Essien’s failure to pay the money was in violation of the orders given by the High Court on December 13, last year
“That having failed to fulfil a condition imposed on him by this court under Section 35 of the Courts Act, the outstanding amount has become due and the respondent is liable to a custodial sentence by the court,” the motion averred.
On December 13, last year, Essien pleaded guilty to 16 counts of stealing and money laundering and was accordingly convicted on his own plea by the court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour.
However, the convict avoided a custodial sentence after the court accepted an agreement between him and the prosecution for him (Essien) to pay the GH¢90 million.
The agreement was pursuant to Section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459), which allows accused persons standing trial for causing financial loss to the state to pay the money and possibly avoid a custodial sentence.
Based on the agreement, Essien has already paid GH¢30 million (out of the remaining GH¢90 million) to the state and will pay the remaining GH¢60 million in three installments of GH¢20 million by the close of December 2023.
Essien risks going to prison if he defaults in paying the money in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
The court ordered him to pay the first installment on or before April 28, 2023, the second on or before August 31, 2023 and the last installment on or before December 15, 2023.
“In that event, the prosecution shall cause the immediate apprehension of the convict and produce him before the court as soon as practicable for custodial sentence to be passed on him according to law,” Justice Kyei Baffour ordered.