Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has expressed the view that what is needed in the case involving the former CEO of Defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, is the recovery of the money involved and not a jail sentence.
He indicated that jailing the former CEO will not have any impact on the country as far as recovering the funds are concerned.
Martin Kpebu’s comment come after Ato Essien was sentenced to a 15-year jail term over his failure to live up to the agreement to pay back GH¢ 90 Million belonging to the bank.
Speaking on Accra-based UTV, the Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu emphasized that Ato Essien had indicated in the course of the hearing that he owned a house in Prampram worth about $10 million, which could be sold to cover the debt, thereby rendering a jail sentence unnecessary.
“He mentioned that he has a house worth about $10million situated in Prampram, and if that house is sold, he could have gotten more than enough to pay the debt and keep the change . So, when I heard that, I thought there could be justice in the case.
“Because when Ato Essien goes to jail, it will not hurt me in any way, but we need the money. When we get the money, it will serve as a deterrent to others and not him being in prison,” he said.
The legal practitioner also pointed out that the monetary recovery would also have other repercussions, including hindrances to future employment, visa applications, and a criminal record.
“Now that he is convicted, if he should be filing a form, he will be asked if he has been convicted before and he will have to tick yes. So, he is definitely going to feel the effect. And also because the case involves stealing, if he is applying for a visa, he will not get it. He may not be able to get employment again, so he is going to feel it.
According to the lawyer, Ato Essien could explore options like filing for an appeal or reaching another agreement with the Attorney General to settle the debt.
“The main thing is that, we have seen the building and once we have that, we should at all cost get the money back. If he goes into prison, we cannot get the money back again. If the judge had included it in announcing his judgment then we could get the money while he is in jail. Also there is no evidence that he used the stolen money to put up that building,” he added.
The former CEO, Ato Essien was found guilty of 23 counts of conspiracy, stealing from liquidity support given to the Capital Bank, paid about GH¢30 million of the total amount, GH¢ 90 Million, as of December 1, 2022.
As per the agreement adopted by the court, he was ordered to pay the remaining GH¢60 million in three installments with the first installment on or before April 28, 2023, the second on or before August 31, 2023, and the last installment on or before December 15, 2023.
However, at the time the judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, was pronouncing his judgment, Ato Essien had paid only GH¢ 7 million out of a possible GH¢ 40 million, missing the deadlines for April 28 and August 31 this year, bring the total paid to Ghc 37 million of the total GH¢ 90 million.