Beleaguered owner of gold-trading firm Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah is to be tried in Dubai on misdemeanour charges, Ghana authorities have announced.
Mr. Mensah was arrested by the Police in the United Arab Emirates on December 7, 2018 on suspicions that that he had been involved in a gold-trading deal, which had gone bad.
Popularly known as NAM1, the man who is currently wanted in Ghana to face prosecution over charges of defrauding by false pretences and possible money laundering is set to be put before an Emirati court on February 2.
Ghana’s delegation to Dubai which had sought to seek custody of and extradite Nana Appiah to Accra announced Friday that the Emirati authorities have resolved to prosecute him first before they could hand him over.
The delegation was to determine the nature of the legal processes against NAM1 in the UAE and the appropriate means by which Ghana could take custody of him to assist with investigations into the Menzgold crisis.
“It is the understanding of the Ghanaian delegation that Mr Mensah faces misdemeanour charges in the UAE and will be available to Ghana upon the final determination of his current matter in the UAE” a joint statement by the EOCO and the Ghana Police said.
Notwithstanding, the delegation said they have managed to obtain statement from Mr. Mensah on the Menzgold crisis that has caused thousands of people in and outside the country to lose their lifetime savings and investments.
“Mr Mensah has provided an extensive statement to Ghanaian security and legal officers to assist in investigations into the Ghana matter for further action, the statement indicated.
The authorities say despite their inability to get him extradited to Ghana in the shortest possible time, they shall continue with investigations and processes aimed at bringing a closure to the case against him in Ghana by following due process.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of NAM1 on January 9 following complaints lodged against the man in the wake of the Menzgold crisis that triggered series of protests from customers of the gold-trading dealership.
Menzgold has since late 2018 failed to pay customers returns on their investments; a situation the company said was due to its issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission which said the gold firm was engaged in an illegality.
Operations of the company were shut down and based on information provided to EOCO by the SEC, NAM1 was invested for investigations but authorities say he resolved not to cooperate with investigations.
While EOCO said it employed other strategies to make NAM1 available for further investigations, “persons in the UAE employed similar methods in getting Mr. Mensah to visit the UAE where he was subsequently apprehended”.
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]”.
Accordingly, the firm wants parliament to “intervene and help resolve this matter amicably”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana