Ato Essien, Former CEO of Capital Bank, Sentenced to 15 Years Imprisonment

Ato Essien, the former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Capital Bank, has been sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment with hard labor for failing to fulfill the terms of a plea bargain with the state. Essien pleaded guilty to 16 counts of stealing, money laundering, and conspiracy to steal in connection with the collapse of Capital Bank.

Key Details:

  1. Sentencing Details: Ato Essien received a 15-year prison sentence with hard labor for his failure to fully pay the agreed-upon GH¢90 million to the state. The sentencing follows his guilty plea and the subsequent plea bargain.
  2. Plea Bargain Agreement: Ato Essien entered into a plea bargain with the state, agreeing to pay GH¢90 million. He paid GH¢30 million in December 2022 and was required to pay the remaining GH¢60 million in three equal installments in 2023.
  3. Payment Default: As of April 28, 2023, Essien had not paid the GH¢20 million installment due. Despite being given several lifelines, he only paid GH¢7 million in addition to the initial GH¢30 million between January and October 12.
  4. Custodial Sentence: The court had warned that a custodial sentence would be imposed if Essien missed payment deadlines. The state filed an application on May 2, 2023, seeking a custodial sentence after he failed to make the required payments.
  5. Judge’s Decision: The presiding judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, allowed the state to move the application after Essien’s continued default. Ato Essien was then sentenced to 15 years in prison.


The sentencing of Ato Essien underscores the legal consequences of defaulting on a plea bargain agreement. The case highlights the seriousness with which financial misconduct and breaches of agreements are treated, especially in matters related to the collapse of financial institutions.