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We’ll still ‘chase’ Ato Essien for GH¢53m debt despite jail term – Deputy AG

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Deputy Attorney-General, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, has confirmed that the state will continue to pursue the former CEO of the defunct Capital Bank, Ato Essien, even after he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Mr. Tuah-Yeboah emphasized that the state intends to seize the former CEO’s immediate properties to recover a portion of the GH¢53 million he still owes the state.

Mr. Tuah-Yeboah clarified that the 15-year sentence with hard labour handed to Ato Essien does not exempt him from fulfilling his financial obligations to the state.

“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 on Eyewitness News on Thursday.

Mr. Tuah-Yeboah disclosed that the state had entered into a payment agreement with Mr. Essien, with the understanding that he would repay the GH¢60 million he owed.

Unfortunately, Mr Essien defaulted on this agreement by paying only GH¢37 million at the time of his sentencing on Thursday.

“The state has been able to retrieve GH¢37 million from the convict and he is also serving fifty years imprisonment maybe if he had not refunded the GH¢37million, he could have had a higher sentence but as far as we are concerned.

“We entered into this agreement with him under Section 35 with the understanding that he goes by the terms of the agreement and he made some commitments by paying GH¢37million and he couldn’t go through the entire agreement and he had to go and serve the fifteen years.”

Mr. Essien was jailed on Thursday, October 12 following his failure to pay in full an amount of GH¢90 million he agreed to pay the state despite several lifelines given him since December 2022.

Ato Essien pleaded guilty to 16 counts of stealing, money laundering, and conspiracy to steal for his role in the collapse of Capital Bank.

He, however, entered a plea bargain with the state under section 35(7) of the courts ACT 459.

Under the agreement, Mr. Essien was expected to pay GH¢90 million for which he paid GH¢30 million cedis on December 13.

He was to pay the GH¢60 million remainder in three equal installments in 2023; GH¢20 million by April 28, another GH¢20 million by August 31 and the last GH¢20 million by December 15, 2023.

A major condition of the agreement was that the court would not hesitate to impose a custodial sentence if he missed any of the payment deadlines.

However, Mr. Essien failed to pay the remainder.

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