Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah Yeboah has said the State will not give up in its quest to recover the ¢53 million from the former CEO of the defunct Capital Bank, Ato Essien despite being handed a jail term.
Mr Yeboah insisted that the amount will not be forfeited for any reason as the state needs it.
Speaking in an interview with JoyNews, the Deputy AG said encumbered assets of the convict will be traced and seized.
According to him, this will be done through a civil action that will be brought against the convict.
“If he serves this sentence, the State will still pursue him and get the remaining amount and so it is not as if he is going to serve his sentence and then the amount will be forfeited.”
“We are going to trace his encumbered properties and go after that in a civil action,” Mr Tuah-Yeboah said.
Mr Ato Essien was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour.
Ato’s imprisonment comes following his inability to fully pay the GH¢90m amount back to the State after agreeing to do so.
He earlier paid ¢30 million upfront in December 2022 and was required to pay ¢20 million as the first installment of the ¢60 million outstanding amount by April 28, 2023.
But he was only able to pay ¢5 million. In May, he was given until July 4, to liquidate his assets and pay the state GH¢55 million. This deadline elapsed without any payments made.
The state then submitted a request to the court, seeking a custodial sentence in line with the agreed terms.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour upon a request by the convict’s lawyer deferred the hearing of the application to impose a custodial sentence.
Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Kweku Paintsil has said Ato Essien’s jailing is not surprising.
Mr Paintsil noted that Mr Essien’s jail term has nothing to do with his capability to pay the judgement sum.
However, it is the natural consequence of his noncompliance with the terms agreed with the court.
“The conviction that came as a result of his noncompliance or failure to pay the money ordered by the court is not surprising. It is the natural consequences of his noncompliance,” he told Blessed Sogah on Thursday, October 12, 2023.
William Ato Essien, Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor and Tetteh Nettey, a former Managing Director of MC Management Service owned by Mr. Essien were charged with 23 counts of conspiracy, stealing from the ¢620 million liquidity support given to the bank by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), to enable it to service its maturing debt.
The accused persons, according to the prosecution, opened various bank accounts with Capital Bank through which the ¢620 million BoG liquidity support was transferred while others were carried in jute bags to Ato Essien.