The founder of the defunct Capital Bank, Willian Ato Essien has been barred from being appointed as Managing Director of any bank, financial Institution, or any deposits taking institution in the country.

This was after he was convicted on his own plea by the High Court in Accra after pleading guilty to 16 charges of Conspiracy, money laundering, and stealing.

The order of the court was based on Section 58(1) of the Bank and Specialised Deposit-Taking law.

Two others Nettey Tettey, MD for MC Management Services, a company owned by Ato Essien, and Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, former MD of the bank were both acquitted and discharged.

The court found the two not guilty of six and seven charges respectively.

The trial judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with an additional responsibility as a High Court judge ordered Ato Essien to pay the outstanding amount within a year from the date of judgement.

The court said per the agreement the convict was to pay an amount of GHc30 million by December 2022, which he has fulfilled.

However, he is to pay the outstanding balance in three installments, GHc20 million each on April 28, August 31, and December 15, 2023.

While suspending the custodial sentence based on the agreement per section 25, the court said should he default in the payment of the first installment on April 28, 2023, should be arrested and brought before the court immediately.

The court said he shall be committed to serve a custodial sentence should he default.

According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, the court said his passport should not be released to him until the final payment or under special orders of the court.

Meanwhile, the court has ordered that the passports of Nettey Tettey and Rev. Odonkor, former MD of the bank be released to them.


Earlier, the court had accepted his latest agreement entered with the state to refund GHc90 million as restitution and reparations with over GHc30 million being interest on the sum.

The office of the attorney general through the deputy AG Alfred Tuah Yeboah and Thaddeus Sory for Ato Essien addressed the court on Section 35 of the Courts Act and how the parties came to the conclusion for the first accused to refund 90 million to state.

Addressing the court on how the parties arrived at GHc90 million of the agreement refund, the Deputy AG said Section 35 allows for Restitution and reparations.

He said after painstaking efforts and investigations conducted by the state, it was realized that an amount of GHc65m was used by another company Capital African Group (owned by Ato Essien) acquired shares in Capital Bank and that amount was paid through an EcoBank account.

He said upon realizing that this amount was part of GHc192.5 million, the share acquisition was reversed and the money paid by Capital Bank.

The Deputy AG again said, during the investigation, it found out that another amount of GHc35 million was used by Capital African Group which was used to acquire shares in Capital Bank and this GHc35 million was realized to be part of the GHc192.5 million.

The said acquisition he said was reversed to Capital Bank which made the total sum of the two transactions GHc100 million out of the GHc192.5 million.

To this end, the AG said the outstanding amount of GHc192.5 million currently stood at GHc92.5 million.

He, however, added that during the investigation the first accused person refunded an amount of GHc1.3 million to EOCO and this further reduces the outstanding balance to GHc90.7 million and the records of the transfers and payments were before the court.

Double accounting

Counsel for Ato Essien, Lawyer Thaddeus Sory explaining to the court said per the agreement reached his client is paying additional GHc30 million as compensation to the state.

According to him, the figure that was reached as the amount for which the first accused is liable is GHc92.5 million.

He said that figure did not take into account the GHc35 million which his last letter to AG amounted to double accounting.

“My view as I explained to the AG was that the GHc35 million form part of the GHc100 million which was the subject matter of counts one to five.”

He added that the accused person was again separately charged on the same counts on nine and 11 which amounts to “double accounting.”

He argued that after extensive discussion it was agreed that this GHc92 million will be calculated to include the GHc35 million in count nine to 11.

He said from the negotiations so far, the AG has negotiated GHc30 million which the first accused has agreed to pay which is in respect of the interest component of the agreement.

Modern day prosecution

While referencing the former Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo’s decision in 2003, Lawyer Sory said, prosecution should focus on recoveries in situations like this.

He said the most interest of the court should rather be how much the state had recovered and that the offer from his client is the first of its kind.

He argued that the state has not recovered so much from all these prosecution that the state has wasted on these cases.

He said a more modern approach has been encouraged by Justice Sophia Akuffo for the past 20 years and his client deal is a “double good deal for the state and should be accepted.

Court Acceptance

Justice Kyei Baffour said an agreement between the representative of the Attorney General and the first accused pursuant to section 35 was filed on 30/11/22.

“Having listened to the deputy AG that with the revocation of the license of Capital Bank and that state is in the custody of Capital Bank and that the state has made huge payments to depositors and the monies are huge loss to the state I am prepared to accept the agreement under section 35,” the judge stated.

The court said the first accused indicates that he is unable to increase the total amount to be paid as reparation and restitution.

“Further rejection of the agreement may overreach the first accused pursuant to the agreement reached. I will therefore accept the agreement,” the court held.

Source: Ghana/ Inusah