Application against processes to impose jail term on Ato Essien dismissed

The High Court in Accra has dismissed an application filed to set aside any proceedings leading to the imposition of custodial sentence on AtoEssien, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the defunct Capital Bank, and give leave for further negotiations on the terms of payment.

Lawyers of Essien, moved the application when the state was set to argue its case on why he the former CEO should be jailed for not meeting the terms of repaying the GH¢60 million owed to the state.

MrThaddeus Sory, who represented Essien, argued that any custodial sentence imposed on his client will defeat the purpose of section 35(7) of the Courts Act that formed the basis uponwhich the agreement was signed.

The lawyer further argued that the Judge has the power to make any orders to suspend the proceedings for imposition of a custodial sentence as it concerns the implementation of a judgment of the court.

The state, however, opposed the application on grounds that the section relied upon does not in any way give discretion to the court to vary the terms of the agreement nor is the state interested in renegotiating the deal.

The court presided over by Justice Eric KyeiBaffour after considering the application, dismissed it, and adjourned to May 17, 2023, for the court to hear the state’s application for jailing AtoEssien.

The state has filed processes at the High Court to Essien, imprisoned for not making payments as part of his GH¢90 million restitution deal.

According to the state, Essien, who was supposed to pay GH¢20 million by April 28, 2023, has failed to make the payment.

In the application, the State Attorney said that, MrEssien has failed to honour an agreement to pay the first installment out of the GH¢90 million restitution and reparation money after pleading guilty to offences leveled against him.

The expiration of April 28, 2023, deadline is what is necessitating the state’s action.

Instead of facing an earlier jail sentence, MrEssien, who pleaded guilty to accusations of causing financial loss to the state, was asked to refund GH¢90 million he confessed to having stolen after entering into a plea bargain with the state under Section 35 of the Courts Act.

As part of the agreement, he made a GH¢30 million deposit and was expected to pay the whole balance of GH¢60 million in three installments, the first of which was due on April 28.

The state had written to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department asking if the money had been paid by the respondent on the said date, however, it has emerged that, no such payment has been made.

The state contends that MrEssien having failed to make the payment is liable to a custodial sentence.


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