The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jastar Group of Companies, Charles Asum, has discounted reports that he has squandered investments of his clients and absconded, describing such reports as “erroneous and a deliberate ploy” by his detractors to tarnish his hard-won reputation.
Mr Asum admitted his outfit was challenged in terms of meeting the demands of his clients but assured all those affected that he was making frantic efforts to resolve the challenges to put back smiles on their faces.
Some customers of the finance company yesterday picketed at Nkoranza demanding payments of their monies. There was an alleged kidnapping of a three-year-old baby who was later freed, according to media reports.
According to him, the conduct of his competitors in the microfinance business – who plunged the entire sector into the current mess – failed to meet the agreement of their clients, resulting in panic withdrawals from his outfit which also affected him. He reiterated the fact that he had not spent monies of his clients as others had been speculating.
“We also invested the monies into other areas in order to accrue the benefits thereof. So when there was this panic withdrawal, it affected the business because the investment period had not matured and we could not also halt it,” he said.
He apologised to his customers for the delay in the repayment of their capital and accrued benefits, but promised to address the issue this year since he had been personally affected by it, adding that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had also not placed any moratorium on his company as claimed by a section of the public.
The Jastar Group CEO cautioned politicians in the Brong-Ahafo Region in particular to desist from making political capital out of the issue arising from the current challenges, observing that it could polarise the political environment in the region if care was not taken.
“They should go out and find their own campaign message. In my case, it is a challenge we are facing which would soon be resolved. What business has a politician in this matter?” he queried.
He bemoaned the refusal of government and established banks to offer them loans to offset what was owed the hundreds of clients, indicating that Jastar Group of Companies has collateral to secure loans that could offset the amount owed clients.
To this end, he appealed to the banks to rescind their decision not to grant his company loans, giving the assurance that they have the capacity to pay back such loans within a period of six months.
“It was an opportunity to empower our own people. No one intends to run away with the monies of these same people who toiled to make their money. I am committed to offsetting the monies invested in my company to the last dime,” Mr Charles Asum assured.