The state is pursuing legal action against the directors and owners of the other failed banks, according to Deputy Attorney-General (A-G) Alfred Tuah-Yeboah.
This came about following the court’s incarceration of William Ato Essien, the former CEO of Capital Bank, for his part in the bank’s failure.
Recall that on August 14, 2017, the Bank of Ghana released a press statement declaring that Capital Bank’s license had been revoked owing to insolvency.
During the 2017–2019 financial sector clean-up exercise, the central bank also withdrew the licenses of UT Bank, Unibank, and Biege Bank.
Following that, Ato Essien, the CEO of the Capital Bank, was found guilty on several charges of theft and money laundering and received a 95-year prison sentence. Due to the concurrent nature of these sentences, he will serve a total of 15 years in prison.
The jail term was imposed because, despite their agreement to return GHC90 million to the state, he was only able to return GHC37 million.
In an interview with TV3, which 1Family Radio monitored, the Deputy Attorney General stated that Ato had been sentenced to 15 years in prison. This is an old issue, and he made the decision to sign an agreement last year in order to utilize Section 35.
“We were expecting that he would go by the agreement that we had, but unfortunately, on his part, he could not fulfill his part of the bargain. As we speak, he has been able to pay close to about 37 million cedis, and because of his inability to pay the rest, per the agreement that we had, the court had the right to sentence him to a prison term, and the court just did that,’’ he said.
“I am yet to get the full complement of the orders of the court. Now that he has been imprisoned, if he gets the money to pay, that is another ballgame to look at because after a court has given its ruling or judgment, the court becomes functus officio, so my expectation is that when he pays, he goes into mitigation when he wants to appeal the sentence.
He furthered, “Let’s hope that he gets the money to pay. Let us also add that even if he is going to serve for 15 years, Ghanaians have also somehow benefited because at least 37 million cedis have been paid to the state. If he had been sentenced last year, we wouldn’t have even recovered this.”
When asked about the other instances and if the state was concentrating on getting the money back from those directors as well, Mr. Tuah-Yeboah replied, “As we speak, we have other cases in court. Beige Bank is in court. We are hearing the matter.” UT is a party to another court case, and we are handling the other banks one after the other, including Duffuor’s bank (Unibank).
“If the money that we have lost is ready to be refunded, we will look at Section 35 and go by that, and we can have the same agreement.’’
“Our preoccupation is to ensure that justice is done; this can be done either by getting the money or, if we don’t get it, by going to the full hog and getting the judgment, and if they are convicted, so be it. So if any of the others facing trial are of the opinion that they want to use Section 35, nobody stops them because it is not limited to Ato Essien; it is limited to all other people, but we are still prosecuting our cases in court,’’ he added.