General News of Thursday, 25 August 2016
Some disappointed clients of the DKM Microfinance Company in the Upper East region have vowed to see to it that President John Dramani Mahama does not sail through the upcoming general elections for another term in office.
Their statement is a well-packaged threat they intend to unwrap at the forthcoming polls by voting “massively” against the president if he fails to help retrieve their long-withheld investments from the liquidated microfinance institution.
This was announced at a news conference convened Wednesday in Bolgatanga, the regional capital, by the disappointed investors calling themselves “Aggrieved Customers of DKM in Upper East” and numbered around 6,000 in the region or about 0.6% of the region’s population. About 1,400 people alone are said to have invested Gh¢11, 829, 371 at DKM in the region.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) shut down the company on Monday May 11, 2015, after it reportedly failed to comply with the terms and conditions required in its licence and also for purportedly possessing assets deemed too insufficient to meet its liabilities to investors.
Devastated depositors across the country have blamed the BoG for alleged failure to ascertain the capabilities of the company from the onset before granting it licence to operate. Whilst they have sustained their anger particularly against the immediate-past Governor of the BoG, Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah, for causing “the mess”, the disappointed accountholders also have slammed President Mahama, under whose government the disaster struck suddenly, for taking so long to undo “the mess” despite the “several promises” he made.
Assembled from across the region in blazing red bands, the enraged clients took turns to pour out their frustrations at the news conference.
“What are our leaders doing? We voted for them! We kept them there to see to it that we live in happiness! But here is the case we are suffering. We are languishing in poverty and yet nothing is done about that. We were told that our monies would be paid. Up to now we have not had one penny. If they are not paying anything, we are going to advise ourselves accordingly.
“We will not just sit down here and allow our monies to go. Whatever means we would take to get our monies back, we shall do it. If the President is not doing anything about it, we shall advise ourselves. December 7, there shall be elections. We shall vote massively to change the government of the day! We are not joking here. People are dying. People are lying in the hospitals. People are suffering. Some have been evicted from their homes,” Raymond Anaba Ayine fumed as his exhausted voice drowned in thunderous applause from a defrauded-looking crowd.
Customers scream: Pay us our monies now!
President Mahama, during his last tour of the region, assured the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs that both DKM and the Diamond Winners would not go unpunished after reportedly swindling millions of Ghana cedis out of several individuals and organisations.
“We have warned over and over again that a lot of these companies do not exist. They are not licensed. Many of them are not licensed at all. These are conmen who want to dupe our people. So, the security agencies must be on the alert and be able to stop them as early as possible. I will ask the security services to intensify their efforts to find out wherever they are and bring them to justice,” the President had guaranteed on Tuesday July 12, this year, in Bolgatanga.
Six weeks after the assurance was given, traumatised clients have waxed very impatient, describing the pace being taken to deliver the promise made as too slow. A statement presented at Wednesday’s news conference by the Chairman of the aggrieved customers, Charles Ayambire, screamed at the president, demanding swift retrieval of the ‘lost’ investments.
“We the ordinary Ghanaians in this region want you to know that almost every household in the Upper East Region is affected by the closure of DKM. We have become poorer in the past 2 years and we know this is not what you want for your brothers and sisters. Please, pay us our monies now!
“When you came to the Upper East Region for the ‘Accounting to the People Tour’, our traditional rulers pleaded that you assist us in this regard and you assured them that the matter would be resolved as soon as possible. How long shall we continue to wait? Please, pay us this money before any other campaign promise for Election 2016.
“We know His Excellency, the President of Ghana, Members of Parliament and the Bank of Ghana are all convinced that the DKM case is as a result of regulatory failure and so we expect that DKM issue is treated as a national disaster that needs immediate attention. The Bank of Ghana should, therefore, pay us upfront so that they take steps to liquidate the assets,” the statement demanded.
DKM debacle to affect voter turnout
Meanwhile, a number of the grieving customers have announced they will stay away from the upcoming general elections in protest over their withheld investments.
With more than a half of about 6,000 enraged customers harbouring plans to boycott the December polls, voter turnout equally may be heading for some disappointing figures.
Rita Azure, a trader with two children, ranted at the news conference: “We invested these monies so that we can take care of our families. And here is the case we don’t have the money to even feed let alone to pay their school fees. Some of our children have dropped out of school. We are suffering. Do something; if not, no money, no vote. We are not going to vote. The whole Upper East, no vote. Many people are dead and many are on their sickbed because of this. Mr. President, pay our money to us because the Bank of Ghana is under you!”
“Due to DKM, some of us are not able to pay our school fees. Some of us are breadwinners of our families. We are not able to give money so that they will take care of our [siblings] or family members. Mr. President, if our monies are not released, come December 2016, nobody will vote!” Rita Alemya, a teacher trainee, cried out.