July 13, 2024
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Recovering GH¢37m from Ato Essien better than nothing – Deputy AG

A Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Tuah Yeboah has commended his outfit for being able to recover some GH¢37 million from the former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Capital Bank, Ato Essien before his jail term was handed to him.

Even though the Deputy AG agrees that the amount is not enough considering the total sum of GHS90 million he was to pay, he believes this is better than nothing.

Speaking in an interview on TV3 on Saturday, October 14, Mr Yeboah said this is the biggest amount the state has been able to recover from any criminal prosecution under the Fourth Republic. 

He explained that sometimes accused persons are convicted and 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 GH¢53 million from the convict. 

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

The Deputy AG told Joy News in an earlier interview that the encumbered assets of the convict were going to be traced and seized.

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

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

He earlier paid ¢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 GH¢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 non-compliance with the terms agreed with the court.

“The conviction that came as a result of his non-compliance or failure to pay the money ordered by the court is not surprising. It is the natural consequences of his non-compliance,” 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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