It has emerged that owner and chief executive of embattled gold-dealership Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah, was arrested but somehow managed to escape.
Thousands of customers of the company who have had their investments with the firm locked up, have for months questioned why Nana Appiah Mensah has not been arrested over alleged breaches of the law.
A series of pickets and demonstrations by aggrieved customers have been held mostly in Accra and Kumasi where a lot of them invested their monies for what has been described as outrageous interests.
The customers say they have petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Finance Minister but have since not had any favourable response from them.
On the back of the latest demonstration Tuesday in Kumasi which nearly resulted in the burning of the company’s building at Amakom, private legal practitioner Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has revealed Mr. Appiah Mensah was arrested.
Mr. Otchere-Darko who is close to the Presidency and deemed as a powerful figure in the government claimed Mr. Appiah Mensah, popularly known as NAM1, jumped bail and absconded but did not say when and how it happened.
He posted on Facebook Tuesday night: “I understand the owner of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, has breached his bail condition and absconded”.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Nana Appiah Mensah who was seen as an influential person in the country until his debacle, is said to be hiding in South Africa.
Mr. Otchere-Darko indicated that he does not subscribe to the notion that state funds be used to settle the more than one million customers of Menzgold, hence everything must be done to ensure he is re-arrested.
“While, I will not want a pesewa of my tax money to be involved with this ponzi matter, I believe majority of Ghanaians will agree with me that the law must come down heavily on those who use such schemes to destroy the lives of many people,” he stated.
He said “We can’t allow those who allegedly dupe people with such impunity to get away with it that easily. Let’s smoke them out, wherever they are, and throw the book at them!”.
The Bank of Ghana in August last year issued a public notice that Menzgold Ghana Limited is not licensed and has no authority to engage in the solicitation, receipt of money or investments and the payment of dividends or returns to its clients which is captured in Section 6 (1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).
It also hinted of impending sanctions, saying after several cautions to Menzgold, it has started discussions with relevant regulatory authorities to sanction them for breaching the law.
Though Menzgold called the bluff of the central bank, it was forced to shut down in September 2018 by the SEC.
As part of the shutdown notice, the firm was ordered not to take new contracts (investments).
SEC claimed evaluation of Menzgold’s documentations show the company does not have the licences to trade in gold, and that, its operations are in breach of Act 929 “as well as a threat to unsuspecting and uninformed investors”.
The company has since been in tango with SEC as well as customers and investors who are demanding their returns and investments.
But when the issues appeared to have escalated due to pressure from the customers, Nana Appiah Mensah run to parliament with a petition to intervene so the company can resume operations and pay its customers.
The company pleaded with the House to particularly intervene in the impasse between it and the SEC, which the company claimed has caused delays in paying its customers interest on their investments.
The company claimed in the petition to the Finance Committee of Parliament that the complete shutdown of its gold collectible vault by SEC has “caused a lot of serious challenges for the company and its customers [both local and foreign]”.
It thus want parliament to “intervene and help resolve this matter amicably”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana