General News of Sunday, 23 December 2018
Lawyer representing customers of Menzgold, Amanda Akuokor Clinton has called on state entities to do a thorough investigation into Brew Marketing Consult Limited, a company responsible for receiving investors funds.
Last week, Lawyer Clinton on behalf of Menzgold clients petitioned the President, Attorney General’s department pleading with them to work with all government departments including Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Interpol (Ghana), Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Financial Intelligence Center, Bank of Ghana, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Registrar General’s Department and her office in an attempt to preserve Menzgold Ghana Ltd/Brew Marketing Consult Ltd’s assets.
In her submission, Lawyer Clinton tasked government to claw back money taken from the country; trace monies removed from the accounts in cash and coordinate with Interpol globally to claw back any remaining investors monies even whilst the criminal investigation is being conducted since this is standard protocol globally and in high profile public interest cases in Ghana.
In her petition to the President she wrote: “Menzgold has a matrixed company structure since Menzgold is the face of the business operations and Brew Marketing Consult Ltd the corporate entity that received most of the investors’ funds. It is humbly requested that these entities as well as other associate companies be further investigated in order to retrieve investors funds.”
According to the Lawyer, the SEC should have prevented the gold dealership firm from operating during the early stages of investigations when it was discovered that Menzgold was taking in deposit from clients.
“Having a company face such as Menzgold and then telling every customer who invests in Menzgold to funnel their money to Brew Marketing Consult Ltd. raises enough suspicion for SEC to prevent Menzgold taking in new deposits much earlier than February 2018 instead of September 2018 which is the date Menzgold was prevented from taking in new deposits. The passage of time however allowed Menzgold to continue taking in new investors who on average invested larger deposits since Menzgold had been in operation for 6 uninterrupted years with a good track record of paying deposits every month. This in turn meant that the most recent investors invested what ended up being larger investments upwards of even 6 million U.S dollars at times per transaction,” Lawyer Clinton wrote.
Government has however not undertaken a full forensic account of Menzgold in order to present a report to the public of how 1 million Ghanaians invested over 60 million U.S dollars in an unregulated company which in itself makes this matter a high-profile public interest case, much higher than the GFA case.
She also argues that, “Even if you were now to freeze the accounts, a lot of money has allegedly disappeared and we do not understand how almost 3 months could pass and the authorities not freeze accounts even if the matter is pending in court [Mensgold vs. SEC] and the criminal investigation is underway [Director of CID has allegedly still not opened a file on this case formally].”
It is allegedly standard protocol for authorities dealing with cases that involve large amounts of monies invested by the public to freeze as many company bank accounts associated with that company to prevent disposing of assets, prevent senior associates of the companies from traveling and further depletion of funds invested by the public pending a full criminal investigation. In the case of GFA, where the matter involved finances and public interest, the assets were frozen before the CID file was open to prevent dissipation of assets, pending a full criminal investigation.
Perhaps Lawyer Clinton is therefore right to observe in her petition that “[She is] concerned that Mr. Appiah’s company bank accounts have allegedly not been frozen since the SEC debacle began in September 2018 and all other bank accounts related to the company including Brew Marketing Consult Ltd have not been investigated. Senior officers of the company have not been prevented from travelling (or told to return); assets have not been earmarked to prevent dissipation and an unprecedented level of protection appears to have been provided to Mr. Nana Appiah Mensah.”