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Failed banks: Ato Essien to spend 15 years in prison

Founder of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, is to spend 15 years in prison for his role in the collapse of the bank

Founder of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, is to spend 15 years in prison for his role in the collapse of the bank.

Despite reaching an agreement to refund GHC90 million to the state, he only managed to refund GHC37 million to the state, hence the imposition of the custodial sentence.

He was slapped with a total jail term of 95 years for multiple counts of stealing and money laundering. These sentences are to run concurrently hence, he will be spending 15 years in jail.

Republic Vs Ato Essien

Key Timelines

August 2017– Bank of Ghana revokes license of Capital Bank and declares it insolvent

October 2019- William Ato Essien and three others are charged with multiple counts of stealing and money laundering of various sums in excess of 250 million cedis.

The Other accused persons are; Dr. Tetteh Nettey- Managing Director of MC Management Services Ltd, Fitzgerald Odonkor- Former MD of Capital Bank,  Kate Quartey-Papafio-CEO of Rerooy Cables were

December 2022– Ato Essien enters into an agreement to refund 90 million cedis to the state.

He is convicted and asked to obey the timelines for repayment or risk a custodial sentence.

All other accused persons are found not guilty of the charges.

Terms of payment

  • He paid 30 million cedis upfront and was required to pay the remaining 60 million cedis in three installments, 20 million each time.
  • The first was to be paid by April 28, 2023. The court noted should he fail to make this payment, the entire 60 million becomes payable or the court impose a custodial sentence

April 2023

  • A-G applies for custodial sentence saying the payment terms have been breached
  • Ato Essien pleads for more time and makes some payment

September 2023- Mr. Essien has so far paid 37 million cedis leaving an outstanding balance of 53 million cedis.


In July this year, the High Court in Accra gave another lifeline to the convicted Founder of the Capital Bank, William Ato Essien, by extending the payment of GH¢20 million restitution to the state to July 27, this year.



The GH¢20 million represents the first tranche of a total of GH¢60 million expected to be paid to the state.

The court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, decided to adjourn the case again to enable Essien, who has paid only GH¢8 million so far, to settle the outstanding GH¢12 million.

“Based on the pleas of his counsel, I once again reluctantly give the convict one more opportunity to make payment.

Essien, who was convicted for stealing over GH¢90 million of Bank of Ghana’s liquidity support to the Capital Bank, was supposed to have paid GH¢20 million of the GH¢60 million restitution by April 28 this year and pay the rest by the end of December this year.

Failure to pay the amount per the agreed terms will lead to the court jailing Essien.

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