The Attorney-General’s Office has advised the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, to officially write to seek assistance to claim a $39 million judgment allegedly awarded his company in Dubai.
Similarly, lawyer for some of the affected customers of Menzgold, Amanda Clinton, has also said the businessman would have to provide proof of having been awarded that money for such an assistance to be offered, as it is not just about him, but the thousands of people who had been affected by the closure of his business.
Mr Mensah, popularly known as NAM 1, at a news conference in Accra last Monday, pleaded with the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to help him retrieve $39 million being the value of gold he supplied to Horizon Royal Diamond, a Dubai-based company.
Reacting to his claims in an interview with the Daily Graphic, a Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph D. Kpemka, said: “We have not received official communication to that effect from Mr Mensah.”
He said a press conference was not the medium of communication for such request.
Mr Kpemka said: “The appropriate way for him is to write to the Attorney-General detailing the kind of assistance he needs. He should indicate the nature of assistance he needs as a citizen of this country,” and stressed that all citizens had a right to be heard.
Mr Kpemka declined to answer whether the government was in a position to assist or not on grounds that “we are yet to receive and examine the kind of assistance he needs.”
Mr Mensah at the news conference said: “As an act of good faith, we are willing to engage the Attorney-General’s Office on the best possible way for them to aid Menzgold by employing international law and diplomatic relations to ensure we achieve this objective.”
Mr Mensah also pleaded with the government to unfreeze his company’s and personal bank accounts and assets so they could utilise the assets to increase productivity in order to meet their liabilities.
“As of now, Brew Marketing Consult, Menzgold and I cannot credit or debit any bank account in Ghana. This is why it is highly imperative to consider this kind request.
As I believe, the government shares in our resolve and would do all that is needful in our quest to satisfy the populace, who are our customers,” Mr Mensah stated.
The Menzgold CEO was, however, not able to give a definite timeline to pay back investors.
He said the company was committed to paying back its customers but indicated that that would be achieved expeditiously if the government assisted it to retrieve the $39 million and on condition the company’s accounts and his personal accounts were unfrozen to enable them to receive cash inflows.
“We cannot make payments when our bank accounts have been frozen,” he indicated but declined to state the exact amount the company owed its customers as well as the total number of customers the company was obligated to.
Proof of cash
However, the legal representative of some of the aggrieved customers insists the Menzgold CEO must provide the evidence first, before asking for help
Speaking on an Accra-based radio station, Citi FM, Ms Clinton said she had filed charges at the court on behalf of her clients but since the details of the said judgment in Dubai awarded him had not been seen, nor the proof that the cash was awarded, it would be difficult to go by that claim.
Speaking on Eyewitness News last Tuesday, Amanda Clinton said: “He hasn’t provided any proof that the money exists. Why hasn’t anybody still sighted this judgment of the Dubai case? I haven’t seen it and as a lawyer, I have asked for it but they haven’t given it to me.
“If it can be shown that thousands of money from Ghanaians was taken to Dubai for a business deal and needs to be returned to them out of public interest, it is something that he can perhaps provide the evidence and then there will be pressure on the government if this is true.
Till date, I haven’t seen this documentation,” she added.
She said given the number of Ghanaians affected, the government could pursue the money in Dubai on behalf on the citizens and explained that a special account would be created for that purpose to facilitate disbursement.
“If NAM 1’s team is able to produce evidence of the $39 million, the government can pursue this matter. But the bank accounts can be set up and earmarked for this purpose.”
A leader of the Coalition of Aggrieved Customers of Menzgold (CACM), Fred Forson, told the Daily Graphic that while they welcomed the request from Mr Mensah for the government’s assistance to retrieve the money, they would want the government to be involved in the entire process.
“If NAM 1 says $35 million has been locked up in Dubai and needs government assistance to bring it down to refund our locked-up funds with him, we support his call and would urge the government to consider it.
“However, we would want our legal representatives to be involved in the entire process. Also we would want the government to set up a special account into which the money would be paid and the process of refunds established just as it was done for some customers of the collapsed banks,” Mr Forson indicated.
The concerned customer also said the government would have to find out if there were funds in the frozen accounts of the Menzgold CEO and his businesses and determine if that would be enough to pay off some of the money owed, so as to use it for that purpose.
“For us, the finality to this issue is our locked-up money being refunded to us. If the money in his accounts can do that the government should use the legal means to get it to for us; if there is proof that the huge amount is locked up in Dubai, the government should help repatriate it to Ghana so it can be used to resolve the issue,” Mr Forson, who admitted that his business had been affected by the closure of Menzgold, said.
He added that members of the CACM were disappointed by Mr Mensah’s failure to give timelines to refund their money to them.
“We were expecting that he would have given timelines set for the payment of the money. However, he did not commit himself which was disappointing.”
NAM 1 has been accused of using Menzgold as a tool to defraud more than 16,000 people of GH¢1,680,920,000 and is currently facing charges in an Accra Circuit Court.
Prosecutors say NAM 1, his wife, Ms Rose Tetteh; and his sister, Ms Benedicta Mensah, used Menzgold as a tool to defraud more than 16,000 people of GH¢1,680,920,000.
The three accused persons – described as the principal officers of Menzgold – along with Menzgold and its sister company, Brew Marketing Consult Limited, both represented by Nana Appiah, have been slapped with 13 counts.
The counts are defrauding by false pretences, abetment to defraud by false pretences, carrying deposit business without licence, abetment of sale of minerals without licence, sale of minerals without licence, abetment to unlawful deposit-taking, unlawful deposit-taking and money laundering.
Nana Appiah has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. His wife and his sister are, however, at large.
Menzgold has since 2017 been on a collision course with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC) over the company’s gold vault trading platform that allowed subscribers to earn what Menzgold described as “extra values’’ monthly.
The BoG issued two public notices on November 1, 2017 and August 6, 2018, warning the public that Menzgold was not licensed to take deposits and that people who dealt with the company did so at their own risk.
On September 13, 2018, the company shut down its operations following the SEC’s directive that its gold vault trading platform contravened the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929).