Court gives Ato Essien “lifeline” till July 4 to pay GHC55 million to state

A high court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with added responsibility as a High Court Judge, has decided to give convict William Ato Essien, former chief executive officer of defunct Capital Bank, a 48-day lifeline, to allow him to pay GHC55 million due the state.

The Attorney General dragged Ato Essien back to court, praying the judge to impose custodial sentence on the convicted for failing to comply with the payment terms he reached with the state after his conviction.

Essien paid GHC30 million out of the GHC90 million upfront and agreed to pay the remaining GHC60 million in three instalments, the first being due on 28 April 2023.

However, the convict failed to make good the first instalment of GHC20 million on the agreed date. His failure to abide by the terms of the settlement necessitated the action by the Attorney General, praying the court to commit Essien into prison custody, in line with the provisions of Section 35 (7) of the Courts Act (1993) Act 459, which states;

“Where a person convicted under this section defaults in the payment of any money required of the person under this section or fails to fulfil any condition imposed by the Court under subsection (6), any amount outstanding shall become due and payable and upon failure to make the payment, the Court shall proceed to pass a custodial sentence on the accused”.

In court

When the court constituted today 17 May 2023, Baffour Gyau Bonsu Ashia, lawyer for William Ato Essien told the court that his client has initiated a process to liquidate some assets in Essien Swiss international holdings in order to pay off the debt owed the state. To this end, the lawyer prayed the court to give his client some time to make good his promise.

Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, who was in court for the state, did not oppose the application of lawyers for William Ato Essien, asking the Court to offer the convict a lifeline to allow him to raise the funds to pay his debt.

By court

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s Court after hearing the parties, ruled; “I have perused through the application and the affidavit in opposition. If I were to allow the learned deputy attorney general to move the application, I would be compelled to deliver my ruling in respect of the application”.

“Taken notice that the convict has taken steps to liquidate some assets in Essien Swiss international holdings for which he is the sole shareholder and is expecting huge sums of monies as he has indicated in the affidavit for which he had deposed to.

“If indeed the depositions in the affidavit have been made bona fide, time will vindicate that. Accordingly, I will hasten slowly and adjourn the application to the 4th of July, 2023 to enable the convict redeem the monies outstanding as agreed per the agreement with the Republic,” Justice Eric Kyei Baffour ruled.


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