Fifty persons committing suicide because of investments going sour is beyond statistics. It is about human lives, breadwinners who out of a system failure are unable to retrieve their investments and therefore take their own lives.
DKM and the other microfinance institutions now represent a bad story epitomising the irresponsibility of public officials and institutions. When those whose roles demand that they exercise supervisory and oversight roles are found wanting, the fallouts come in the form of suicides, broken homes and other negativities.
In any given country where institutions work well and those at the helm of public offices perform their roles diligently and meticulously, the proliferation of microfinance companies all over the place should have triggered a warning and the appropriate response. Not so when these so-called businesses are well connected and even sometimes owned by politically powerful persons.
Our apex bank did not think it wise to undertake proper supervisory role as expected of it by law and just watched the microfinance companies spring up like germinating maize seeds.
Following the infamous story of Pyram and Resource 5 (R5), we would have thought that never again should such a scam take place in the financial sector anymore.
It has been many years since the Pyram and R5 episodes and perhaps the victims of the DKM case, not born then, would not have learnt the appropriate lessons enough to be wary about such crazy and unsustainable investments.
Even as the surviving victims continue to nurse their wounds inflicted on them by DKM and others, the only thing they want to hear now is a genuine promise about when they can get their investments, even if partly.
When therefore the president assures them that the properties of those behind the company are going to be sold and the proceeds used to offset the companies’ indebtedness, he is seeking to please the victims, which is not what is needed presently.
Indeed the president’s remarks can be regarded as prejudicial since as it is, those arrested would soon be arraigned and it is for him to allow the law to take its course.
Just how the legal complexities are going to be surmounted so the properties he referred to can be confiscated sounds too Herculean to be feasible.
We have also taken note of the president’s explanation that DKM, as claimed by some persons, does not belong to the Mahamas – a defence we find unnecessary at this time.
All we are asking is that if there is anything that can be done to mitigate the suffering of the victims and their dependants, those whose irresponsible conduct led to this sorry state should not hesitate to do so and presto.
Further loss of lives occasioned by the DKM debacle is something we should not witness. Using this subject as a platform for the trading of polemics cannot help the situation and should be avoided by all means.