General News of Thursday, 10 January 2019
It’s been a sequence of events; drama, chaos, controversies in the past few months and weeks following an order by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calling for the suspension of operations of gold trading firm, Menzgold Company Ltd.
It’s Chief Executive Officer, Nana Appiah Mensah (NAM 1) has since then been in ‘hot waters’ as his woes have increasingly multiplied. From subtle protests from aggrieved customers to forceful demonstrations and open threats.
Currently, he is on the run, with the Ghana police joining forces with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to give him a hot chase.
A warrant from an Accra Circuit court has been issued for his arrest and he is on the ‘red alert’ list of Interpol.
With all these happening, GhanaWeb sought to poll in the views of the ordinary Ghanaian on the entire issue; protests from customers, NAM 1’s escape and subsequent warrants from the police service.
While some agree that the court did a fantastic job arresting the ‘runaway’ Boss, others believe it was quite an unnecessary move, the order for his arrest and that of other Directors of the company.
Some others held the view that though the situation is at a very dire stage, NAM1 can always redeem himself by meeting customers and sorting out problems appropriately.
“It’s a business that he was doing and in every business, either you lose or gain, it’s a breach of contract that happened so maybe the customers should have cooperated with him and he shouldn’t have run away, he should have met with his customers and given them an explanation that can meet their standard understanding so they can give him time to settle them little by little”.
“It’s too late but better late than never….”, another said.
A section of others believe this whole Menzgold issue is what it is now only because a few ‘greedy’ persons could not handle their problems and voracity.
A lot more think that NAM 1’s assets should be identified and sold so the monies are retrieved and used to pay the frustrated customers.
“If his properties can be sold to pay off the people whose money are locked up in Menzgold, fine,” one of the people said.
An Accra Circuit court on Wednesday January 9, 2019, issued an order for the arrest of the Chief Executive of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, popularly known as NAM 1, as well as all Directors of the company for the offence of defrauding by pretense which is contrary to Section 131 of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29).
The warrant to arrest which was signed and issued to the police in respect of four main directors of Menzgold had warrant number 01/19, 02/19,03/19 and 04/19, requiring the police to locate and arrest immediately four persons; Nana Appiah Mensah, Rose Tetteh, Benedicta Appiah, and Abigail Mensa.
The other three whose names appeared on the warrant document were listed on the registration documents of Menzgold Ghana as Directors and are also relatives of Nana Appiah Mensah who is the main architect of Menzgold. Rose Tetteh is his wife while Benedicta Appiah is his younger sister and Abigail Mensah also his younger sister.
According to Section 131 of Act 29, “Whoever defrauds any person by any false pretence shall be guilty of a second-degree felony.”
Genesis of the Menzgold crisis
The Company’s problems began on September 7, 2018, after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directed it to suspend its gold trading operations.
The directive, according to SEC, was based on the ‘fact’ that Menzgold had been dealing in the purchase and deposit of gold collectables from the public and issuing contracts with guaranteed returns to clients without a valid licence from the Commission.
The move, SEC explained, was in contravention of “Section 109 of Act 929 with consequences under Section 2016 (I) of the same Act.”
The company was, however, allowed to continue its “other businesses of assaying, purchasing gold from small-scale miners and export of gold.”
The directive caused panic among Menzgold Ghana Limited’s numerous clients, who consequently besieged the offices to demand their investments.
However, for several days, management of Menzgold failed to convince its clients to accept a proposed 15 per cent initial payment on their principals.
It was later gathered in November 2018, that ‘normalcy’ had returned to Menzgold, with the company said to have completely paid off about 30 per cent of its clients.
But the reality has been that the company is unable to pay its customers who are now apparently turning their frustrations on the government for their own stubbornness.
Some of the aggrieved customers have been accusing President Akufo-Addo, former President Kufuor, the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for their predicaments. They claim that the pictures of Nana Appiah with these important personalities gave the impression that he was doing a legitimate business.
And after the series of investigations, BoG observed that the activities of Menzgold amounted to, among other things, “engaging in illegal deposit-taking contrary to section 6(1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).”
It added that its activities also amounted to “engaging in unlicensed mineral activity contrary to section 99(1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2003 (Act 703), engaging in illegal capital markets activity in breach of section 109 of the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929), and a private company inviting the public to deposit money or invest in its business in breach of section 265 of the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) and section 207 of Act 929.”