July 20, 2024
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Defunct Capital Bank’s board chair should be prosecuted as well – Martin Kpebu

Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu says the prosecution of the Capital Bank case will not be complete until the board chairman is also prosecuted.

The outspoken lawyer says the 15-year jail term handed the defunct bank’s former CEO, William Ato Essian is not enough.

In his view, Mr Essien as the CEO could not have stolen the GH¢90m he was convicted of while the board chairman and board members answered no questions.

Contributing to a panel discussion on TV3 on Saturday, October 14, Mr Kpebu maintained that all persons involved in the case should be prosecuted equally.

“We didn’t do enough forensic investigation into this matter. Because if you look at the monies involved, the board chairman cannot be excluded.”

“So I think we didn’t do a good investigation on the matter. This money is too colossal for us to say that the board chair does not have a question to answer.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah Yeboah also speaking on the same show, commended his outfit for being able to recover GH¢37 million from the convict before his jail term.

Even though, the Deputy AG agrees that the amount is not enough considering the amount he (convict) was to pay, he insisted that it is better than nothing.

According to him, this is the biggest amount the state has been able to recover from any criminal prosecution since the Fourth Republic.

He explained that sometimes accused persons are convicted and they are sentenced, and after their sentences or pardon, they return to enjoy their booty at the expense of the state.

“I can say without any fear of equivocation that since the Fourth Republic, there has not been any criminal prosecution that the State has been able to recover GH¢37 million. So this is a good step because sometimes, some accused persons go to jail and return or are pardoned and they come back to enjoy their booty and nothing comes to the State.”

“So I agree that this is not even half of the amount but it is better than nothing at all.”

The Deputy AG had earlier revealed that the State will not give up in its quest to recover the remaining GH¢53 million from the convict.

He insisted that the amount would not be forfeited for any reason as the state needs it.

Speaking in an interview with JoyNews, the Deputy AG said encumbered assets of the convict will be traced and seized.

According to him, this will be done through a civil action that will be brought against the convict.

Mr Ato Essien was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour.

Ato Essien’s imprisonment comes following his inability to pay fully the GH¢90m amount back to the State after agreeing to do so.

He earlier paid GH¢30 million upfront in December 2022 and was required to pay GH¢20 million as the first instalment of the GH¢60 million outstanding amount by April 28, 2023.

But he was only able to pay ¢5 million. In May, he was given until July 4, to liquidate his assets and pay the state GH¢55 million. This deadline elapsed without any payments made.

The state then submitted a request to the court, seeking a custodial sentence in line with the agreed terms.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour upon a request by the convict’s lawyer deferred the hearing of the application to impose a custodial sentence.

Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Kweku Paintsil has said Ato Essien’s jailing is not surprising.

Mr Paintsil noted that Mr Essien’s jail term has nothing to do with his capability to pay the judgment sum.

However, it is the natural consequence of his noncompliance with the terms agreed with the court.

“The conviction that came as a result of his noncompliance or failure to pay the money ordered by the court is not surprising. It is the natural consequences of his noncompliance,” he told Blessed Sogah on Thursday, October 12, 2023.

Background
William Ato Essien, Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor and Tetteh Nettey, a former Managing Director of MC Management Services owned by Mr. Essien were charged with 23 counts of conspiracy, stealing from the GH¢620 million liquidity support given to the bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), to enable it to service its maturing debt.

The accused persons, according to the prosecution, opened various bank accounts with Capital Bank through which the GH¢620 million BoG liquidity support was transferred while others were carried in jute bags to Ato Essien.

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