‘Pussy-footing’ SEC lampooned over Menzgold saga

General News of Saturday, 29 September 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2018-09-29

L-R Newsfile panelists: Kweku Baako, Kofi Bentil, Samson Lardy Inusah Fuseini and Afenyo-Markin

The Securities and Exchange Commission was at the receiving end of a blistering attack over its “impotent” handling of an “illegal” investment scheme, Menzgold.

Panelists on Ghana’s most influential weekend political show, Newsfile on Multi TV, agreed the huge anxiety among clients who are unsure of getting back their investments could have been avoided.

After finding the business has no licence, SEC directed Menzgold to suspend its activities. Menzgold’s business invites those with gold collectibles to deposit it at their vault with a mouth-watering promise of at least 7.5% returns monthly.

In effect, within a year, a client could make 90% returns on investments and at most 120%, a promise which SEC believes is – in the least – risky.

It has not stopped clients believed to cut across respected professionals and organisations from flocking to the company’s offices to sign off their investments.

A panelist, Tamale Central National Democratic Congress MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini claimed knowledge of a client who has $5m with Menzgold and waits for $500,000 a month.

“How can such a business be sustainable?,” the NDC MP expressed in shock at its continous existence and even more shock at its loyal patrons.

There are serious financial, social, moral and legal issues surrounding the existence and possible collapse of Menzgold, he said and revealed “it is difficult to speak about it but it is impossible to be silent.”

But this difficulty did not stop the politician from delivering his verdict that Menzgold and its clients only “encourage and glorify laziness.”

Menzgold has sued SEC for “poking its nose where it does not belong.” It has also asked clients whose dividends are due to come for their money. But they will not be given the principal, the company has controversially stated.

Hundreds trooped to their head office at East Legon in Accra last Friday in another round of anxiety since SEC began looking into Menzgold.

But the Newsfile panelists remained unimpressed with SEC’s dealings with the company. SEC could have obtained a court order to shut down the company after it found it to be operating without a licence, they all agreed.

All SEC did was to “merely” ask it to stop its operations, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, who is New Patriotic Party MP for the Effutu constituency in the Central Region, said in agreement with Inusah Fuseini and added, the regulator could not even move in to supervise the implementation of an order.

All four panelists in a free frenzy began throwing adjectives to address SEC. Vice-President of policy think-tank IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil, called the regulator’s posture, “indolence.” Another panelist and veteran journalist Kweku Baako supplied “impotence.” Fuseini called it ‘paralysis of law enforcement.”

And Baako rounded it all up calling SEC’s “inertia,” a sign that Ghana is a “banana republic.”

Fuseini and Bentil charged clients to go for their principal explaining Menzgold has no legal basis to hold on to the money of a disinterested client. He believes Menzgold’s attempt to hold on to the principal lends credence to suspicions that it is using the principal of clients to pay their dividends.

“They are very clever, so clever,” he said and saw the suit against SEC as a strategic way to hold the regulator at arm’s length while sorting out anxious clients.

Bentil, Markin and Fuseini expressed surprise that SEC despite describing Menzgold’s work as illegal, is still requesting for information from Menzgold as a condition for sit-down talks.

Menzgold

“Why do you ask for information?” Fuseini asked. “What exactly do you want to do?” Markins continued and criticised that “merely demanding a shutdown comes to nothing.”

The panelists urged swift action and blamed the lack of decisiveness as contributing to tensions. “They have the power but they themselves cannot enforce it,” Fuseini expressed disappointment.

Kweku Baako who is Editor-In-Chief for the New Crusading Guide newspaper said he was “amazed” that SEC instead of suing Menzgold is now the one being sued by the embattled company and charged SEC management to file a counter-claim.

Newsfile host Samson Lardy explained if SEC has found Menzgold’s business as falling foul of the SEC Act, the sanctions stated in Section 206 include monetary sanctions. The CEO, Nana Appiah Mensah could also face a prison term of up to three years.

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