An Accra High Court has sentenced William Ato Essien, the founder of the now-defunct Capital Bank, to 15 years in prison.
Mr. Essien was found guilty of embezzling over GH¢90 million of liquidity support. This was provided by the Bank of Ghana to the now-defunct financial institution.
His conviction followed his inability to fully repay the state despite a previous agreement to do so. Initially, he paid ¢30 million upfront in December 2022. He was required to make a first installment of ¢20 million towards the ¢60 million outstanding amount by April 28, 2023. However, he managed to pay only ¢5 million. Subsequently, he was given until July 4 to liquidate his assets and settle the state for ¢55 million, a deadline that passed without any payments.
As a result, the state sought a custodial sentence in line with the agreement’s terms, leading to a court request. Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, after a request by the convict’s lawyer, postponed the hearing on the application for imposing a custodial sentence.
This legal action is part of a criminal case initiated after the collapse of Capital Bank. The accused persons, including William Ato Essien, Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, and Tetteh Nettey, a former Managing Director of MC Management Service owned by Mr. Essien, faced 23 counts of conspiracy and misappropriation of the ¢620 million liquidity support given to the bank by the Bank of Ghana.
The prosecution alleged that the accused individuals managed various bank accounts at Capital Bank for the transfer of the ¢620 million BoG liquidity support. Additionally, some of the funds were transported in jute bags to Ato Essien.
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