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Ato Essien case: Blame Parliament for lapses with law, not Attorney-General or Court – Law Lecturer 

A private legal practitioner and author says the Attorney-General (A-G) cannot blamed for accepting the settlement reached between the state and William Ato Essien, founder of the defunct Capital Bank. 

Mr Daniel Korang said the A-G acted within the law and cannot be faulted. 

According to him, per the Section 35 of the Courts Act, the accused is allowed to make an offer of reparation and compensation and the A-G has the discretion to accept same. 

Mr Korang said the A-G cannot pursue custodial sentences at all cost in this particular case. 

The Author does urged the public to rather blame Parliament for passing such a law than faulting the A-G for acting within the law. 

“The public must appreciate that the case under reference is not an ordinary case of stealing. You know when you look at Section 35 of the Courts Act, it does not talk about ordinary stealing or ordinary case of fraud. 

“It talks about a criminal offence that involves economic loss to the state and I think this particular element is missing in the public discussion because when somebody steals a goat belonging to a farmer or somebody steals money belonging to a community bank, this is a case of stealing but certainly not one that involves financial loss to the state. 

“So the regime under Section 35 is that when the offense involves economic loss to Ghana as a state, that is when that section can be triggered. 

“So if we have to criticise, we don’t need to criticise the Attorney General, we don’t need to criticise the court, we need to criticise Parliament for passing this law, the law is that when a case like comes to court, the accused person has the right to make an offer of repatriation and compensation and it within the Attorney General’s discretion to accept that offer,” the lawyer argued. 

An Accra High Court on Tuesday, December 13, accepted the terms of the settlement reached between the state and William Ato Essien, founder of defunct Capital Bank.

This was after an earlier rejection of the proposed settlement by the court.

Mr Essien was charged with the offence of conspiracy to steal, stealing and money laundering.

However, in court on Tuesday, state prosecutors and lawyers for Ato Essien advanced arguments to convince the court that the terms of the settlement reached between the two parties is the best deal for the state.

Per the agreement, Mr Essien has already paid an amount of ¢30 million out of the ¢90 million he has agreed to pay.

But, some Ghanaians and institutions have expressed their disappointment in the settlement arrived at. 

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Abdullah Anaman
Abdullah Anamanhttps://aanaman.me
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