William Ato Essien, the founder of the now-defunct Capital Bank, has been given till July 4 to pay the remaining debt of 55 million Ghana cedis to the State.
This came about when Ato Essien mentioned actions his company, Essien’s Swiss International Company, had made to liquidate some assets with a third party company in order to raise funds in his affidavit opposing the State’s petition to have him committed to prison.
He stated that, in accordance with the arrangement, the first of the payments, estimated to be $300,000, is scheduled to be paid by June 30.
Ato Essien has paid GHc5 million so far after missing the April 28 deadline to make the first installment of GHc20 million.
However, Alfred Tuah Yeboah, the deputy attorney general, told the court that in accordance with the law, the offender is required to pay the remaining debt in full at once after disobeying that order.
The prosecution intended to make the motion to commit him to prison in court on May 17 under the direction of Deputy Attorney General Alfred Tuah Yeboah, but the court stated that it was minded to extend Ato Essien’s grace period, saying, “I want to give you (Ato Essien) a lifeline.”
“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,” as an additional High Court judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour of the Court of Appeal stated.
“Taking notice that the convict has taken steps to liquidate some assets in Essien’s Swiss international holdings for which he is the Sole Shareholder and is expecting huge sums of monies as he has indicated in the affidavit in opposition for which he has deposed to, if indeed the depositions in the affidavit have been made bonafide, time will vindicate that” the Judge stated.
Because of this, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour declared, “I will proceed cautiously and adjourn the application to July 4, 2023 to enable the convict to recoup the money owed and in accordance with the agreement with the Republic.”
“If indeed you need your freedom,” the judge instructed the convict, “honor the agreement before July 4.”
Depending on whether Ato Essien pays the money or not, the application to commit Ato Essien to prison would either be moved and decided by the court on July 4 or withdrawn.