In a significant legal development, the former Chief Executive Officer of Capital Bank, Ato Essien, has been handed a 15-year prison sentence for his involvement in the misappropriation of GH¢90 million from the bank. The verdict was delivered by the Accra High Court.
Mr. Essien, who also served as the Founder of the now-defunct Capital Bank, was found guilty of embezzling the substantial sum, marking a severe blow to his legal defense. Notably, back in December 2022, he faced a similar conviction on the same charges related to the stolen GH¢90 million.
Initially, Essien managed to avoid incarceration when an agreement was reached between him and the Attorney General. According to this agreement, Essien was to make full restitution by returning the GH¢90 million to the state, a compromise facilitated by Section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459). This provision allows individuals facing charges for causing financial loss to the state to make amends financially and potentially evade imprisonment.
However, in a recent ruling on Thursday, October 12, the court, presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, found that Ato Essien had failed to fulfill his part of the agreement. Consequently, he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
Notably, Ato Essien had previously made an initial payment of GH¢30 million towards the restitution on December 1, 2022. The court had further ordered him to make three more installments, with the first payment due on or before April 28, 2023, the second installment by August 31, 2023, and the final payment by December 15, 2023.