William Ato Essien, the former CEO of the now-defunct Capital Bank, was given a 15-year prison sentence with hard labor.
This harsh punishment is the result of his failure to pay back his GH 90 million debt obligation despite numerous opportunities.
Ato Essien was given a two-month window by the court in May 2023 to pay the first GH20 million of the GH60 million he was ordered to pay in full.
After voluntarily entering into a plea agreement with the state in accordance with section 35 of the Courts Act, Ato Essien was found guilty in December 2022, which is when his legal issues started. This agreement was made to keep him out of jail, but it was conditional on him paying the GH 90 million debt imposed by the court.
The Capital Bank CEO was required by the terms of the agreement to pay the GH90 million debt by the end of 2023. He made an initial payment of GH30 million in December 2022 and was obligated to pay the remaining balance over the course of 2023 in three equal installments.
A custodial sentence could have been imposed if the first payment hadn’t been made by the end of April 2023. Unfortunately, The Capital Bank CEO had only paid GH6 million of the necessary GH20 million by the end of April.
In response to a failure to adhere to the payment plan, the state petitioned the court to impose the custodial sentence.
Investigations into the matter further revealed that Ato Essien had only been able to pay GH2 million more, bringing the total amount paid toward the first installment to GH8 million. There was a sizable balance of GHC 12 million that was unpaid.
In a broader sense, this indicates that of the GH 90 million debt, the former CEO who had been convicted had only paid GH 38 million, leaving a staggering GH 52 million unpaid.
As a result, the court handed down its judgment and underscored the gravity of the financial obligations imposed by the court by sentencing Ato Essien to 15 years in prison with hard labor.