Ato Essien could have been prosecuted without shutting down Capital Bank – Ricketts-Hagan

A former Deputy Minister of Finance, Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan has said the former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien could have been prosecuted without the government revoking the bank’s license to collapse it during the financial sector cleanup.

Capital Bank was declared insolvent by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in August 2017 as the bank’s “liabilities greatly exceeded its assets.”

Mr Ato Essien admitted that the bank faced severe financial challenges before the revocation of its license by the Bank of Ghana.

These challenges include many non-performing loans, toxic assets and insolvency. He made these revelations while he was led by his lawyer Baffuor Gyau Ashia to testify as he put up his defence in November 2021.


Mr Ato Essien has now been convicted for stealing over GH¢90 million of Bank of Ghana’s liquidity support that had been advanced to the now-defunct financial institution.

He earlier paid ¢30 million upfront in December 2022 and was required to pay GH¢20 million as the first installment of the GH¢60 million outstanding amount by April 28, 2023.

But he was only able to pay GH¢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.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, October 14, the former Deputy Finance Minister said the prosecution of the defunct bank’s founder could have been carried out without necessarily closing down the bank.

“You see this prosecution could have still been achieved without necessarily closing the banks. That is why I say that the bath water you can throw it away and then save the baby. The bath water in this case is the likes of Ato Essien,” he said.

According to him, the prosecution of Mr Ato Essien will serve as a deterrent to others, adding that “those who are yet to be looked at, I hope that they are able to find the evidence to also prosecute them if they have done something wrong.”

Meanwhile, Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro MP, Sylvester Tetteh has commended the Attorney General for being able to recover GH¢37 million from Ato Essien before being jailed for 15 years.

The lawmaker, who is also the Vice Chairman of Parliament’s Communications Committee said the AG’s office AG’s office ought to be commended as this is one of the biggest amounts the state has been able to recover from a criminal case under the Fourth Republic.

According to him, had this money not been recovered, the convict would have returned from prison and enjoyed his booty at the expense of the state.

He suggested that until that is done, the conviction of Ato Essien alone may not be deterrent enough to deters others from engaging in such an illegality.

“I think this is good for the country because a lot has been lost in respect of this banking sector clean-up because we had an ailing banking sector and if that hadn’t been done, it would have been a catastrophic event.”

“So I think the Attorney General and the investigators have done a good job for the recovery made.”

“So I think the Attorney General and the investigators have done a good job for the recovery made.”

Source: Emma Ankrah

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