Today, an Accra High Court sentenced William Ato Essien, the founder of the now-defunct Capital Bank, to 15 years in prison. He was found guilty of embezzling more than GH¢90 million in Bank of Ghana’s liquidity support intended for the bank.
Essien had initially agreed to repay the funds but failed to do so. In December 2022, he paid an initial ¢30 million and was expected to pay ¢20 million as the first installment of the remaining ¢60 million by April 28, 2023. However, he only managed to pay ¢5 million. Subsequently, he was given until July 4 to sell his assets and settle the state with ¢55 million, a deadline that passed without payment.
Today, the state requested a custodial sentence in line with the original agreement. Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, following a request from the convict’s lawyer, deferred the hearing regarding the imposition of a custodial sentence.
This legal action stems from the bank’s collapse, and it also involves Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor and Tetteh Nettey, a former Managing Director of MC Management Service owned by Mr. Essien. They face 23 counts of conspiracy and stealing funds from the ¢620 million liquidity support provided to the bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to help it service its maturing debt. According to the prosecution, the accused individuals used various bank accounts at Capital Bank and, in some cases, transported the funds in jute bags to Ato Essien.