The Menzgold Saga, the Inside-out Stories

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Nana Appiah Mensah, CEO of Menzgold

An Accra Circuit Court has issued an order for the immediate arrest of all Directors of Menzgold Ghana, MyNewsGh.com can authoritatively report.

The warrant to arrest which was signed and issued to the police on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 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, sister of Nana Appiah Mensah, Rose Tetteh, Benedicta Appiah, and Abigail Mensah wherever they are.

The other three whose names appeared on the registration documents of Menzgold Ghana as Directors are also relatives of Nana Appiah Mensah who is the main architect. Rose Tetteh is his wife while Benedicta Appiah is his younger sister and Abigail Mensah also his younger sister.

The court warrant documents intercepted by MyNewsGh.com stated their offense as “Defrauding by false pretense contrary to section 131 of 29/60” for which reason they were wanted.

The warrant further stated “You are hereby ordered in the name of the President forthwith to apprehend the said Nana Appiah Mensah and produce him before court”.

Nana Appiah Mensah and wife 

BACKGROUND

I. On October 28, 2014 Bank of Ghana carried out a special exercise within the Central Region covering all district capitals. Menzbank was found operating Microfinance in Kasoa under the guise of gold trading and the illegal usage of the name “Bank”.
II. Bank of Ghana on March 11, 2015, issued notice number BG/GOV/SEC/2015/04 publishing a list of unlicensed entities operating illegally, including Menzbank. Menzbank wrote to the Bank threatening to sue the Bank. The Bank provided enough evidence that they were engaged in Microfinance activities. Based on that Menzbank withdrew the suit and then changed its name to “Menzbanc Ghana Company Limited”.
III. The Bank subsequently on April 13, 2016 issued a notice to warn the general public against the deposit-taking operations of Menzbanc.
IIII. On July 22, 2016, the Bank issued a letter to Menzbanc against its unlicensed deposit-taking activity. The company responded on August 3, 2016 and claimed that they were not engaging in deposit-taking activities.
V. The Bank on August 2, 2016 invited the management if Menzbanc Ghana Company Limited to a meeting on its unlicensed deposit-taking activity and the use of the word “Bank” contrary to the banking laws.
VI. On August 16, 2016, the Bank contacted Minerals Commission and Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) on the licence status of Menzbanc Ghana Company Limited. Minerals Commission confirmed the company had a licence to purchase and export gold. However its licence with PMMC had expired.
VII. Due to persistent complaints from the general public on the operations of the company, the Bank held a follow up meeting on February 13, 2017 with representatives of the company.
VIII. Subsequently, on July 11, 2017, OFISD sought approval from Management to issue a notice warning the general public against the unlicensed deposit-taking activities of the company. The approval was referred to the Secretary’s Department to issue a caution letter to the company.
IX. On July 19, 2017, the caution letter was issued to the company to desist from taking further deposits. Menzbanc then changed its name to Menzgold. It also informed the Bank of its subsidiary by name “Brew Marketing Limited” where clients were directed to go and purchase the gold and deposit it with Menzgold for “dividend”.
X. On July 24, 2017, Management of Bank of Ghana was informed of current development with MenzGold.
XI. On July 27, 2017 the Bank carried out mystery shopping by enrolling on the company’s Gold Vault market product as follows:
• Amount purchased: GH¢4,000.00
• Tenor: Three Months
• Interest/Dividend: 7% per month
• Commission Paid: GH¢200.00
• No gold was sighted throughout the transaction. Menzgold collected the cash with the explanation that they would purchase the gold from Brew Consult on behalf of the mystery shoppers.
XII. A second mystery shopping was conducted on October 24, 2017 as follows:
• Amount purchased: GH¢4,000.00
• Tenor: Three Months
• Interest/Dividend: 7% per month
• Commission Paid: GH¢200.00
• On maturity, the mystery shoppers were given a piece of gold.
XIII. This was followed by a third mystery shopping on May 18, 2018 as follows:
• Amount purchased: GH¢4,000.00
• Tenor: Three Months
• Interest/Dividend: 7% per month
• Commission Paid: GH¢200.00
• This time around the mystery shoppers were directed to purchase the gold from Brew Marketing Consult, and deposit the gold in its vault where the trading began.
XIIII. On May 21, 2018, the Bank wrote to its Legal Department with the evidence to consider the option of legal action on the Deposit-taking activity of the company.
XV. In June 2018, the Bank conducted a joint visit with Minerals Commission to licensed gold traders and refineries in Accra to understand the nature of their operations. The team established that all the companies engaged in smelting and exporting of gold with the exception of Menzgold that is engaged in the solicitation of deposits from the general public with interest rate between 7 – 10% per month to customers based on the quantity of gold purchased.

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Occupy Ghana and Menzgold
In August 2017, Pressure group, Occupy Ghana demanded thorough investigations into the operations of Menzgold to protect consumers from any undesirable impact on the unsuspecting public.
Occupy Ghana was among others concerned that the inability of the Bank of Ghana, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Minerals Commission (MinComm) to clarify the operations of Menzgold will leave much to be desired in the face of possible breach of Ghana’s laws.

Ace Ankomah of Occupy Ghana

Read the full statement from OccupyGhana below.

THE MENZGOLD CONTROVERSY – OCCUPYGHANA® DEMANDS ACTION FROM BANK OF GHANA, SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION AND MINERALS COMMISSION

OccupyGhana® has read the news report of a statement allegedly made by the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Johnson Asiamah, that the company called MenzGold is not licensed to conduct deposit-taking, and that although it is licensed by the Minerals Commission (MinCom) to trade in gold, it had deviated into accepting deposits from unsuspecting customers. Yet in the same story Dr. Asiamah admits that there does not appear to be evidence that MenzGold is flouting the law; but adds that the Bank decided to still notify the public that MenzGold is not to accept deposits.
That statement gives OccupyGhana® much cause for concern, stemming in part from MenzGold’s denying that it takes deposits, claiming that it is only engaged in the purchase and sale of gold. The Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC)’s 2016 – Third Party Gold Export records show that in 2016, the PMMC exported gold on behalf of an entity called “MenzBanc,” for 6 out of the 12 months. The total weight of gold so exported was 3,217.834 ounces, with MenzBanc earning US$3,943,022.41 (GH¢15,742,662.18). These exports were to Dubai, South Korea and Hong Kong, according to the records, and placed MenzBanc among one of the smallest exporters of gold through the PMMC.
When one contrasts the above facts with the fantastic interest rates (“dividends”) that MenzGold promises and pays to its customers or clients, it is critical for Ghanaians to know whether MenzGold is really only dealing in gold, and if so whether the current business model complies with the terms and conditions of its gold dealing licence, if any. Ghanaians deserve to know whether the underlying gold transactions can support the promised rates of return; if not, then we have another potentially serious issue on our hands.
Against the background of the recent financial ruin visited upon some Ghanaians by the DKM disaster, we are concerned whether the claim of dealing in gold is a guise for:
(i) deposit-taking by a private company in breach of the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179);
(ii) unlicensed deposit-taking in breach of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930);
(iii) unauthorised securities transactions in breach of the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929); or
(iv) worse still, a criminal ‘Pyramid’ or ‘Ponzi’ Scheme.
As ordinary Ghanaians, we are unable to make these determinations. The institutions authorised to determine whether MenzGold is involved in (un)authorised business are:
(i) the Minerals Commission (MinCom), which licences dealers in gold, and is empowered by the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) to “monitor the operations of the bodies or establishments with responsibility for minerals;”
(ii) the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which is empowered by Act 929 to maintain “surveillance over activities in securities to ensure orderly, fair and equitable dealings in securities;” and
(iii) the Bank of Ghana, which is entrusted by Act 930 with the “protection of depositors in the country through the regulation and supervision of financial institutions.”
It is for these reasons that OccupyGhana® is concerned that if MenzGold is engaged in illegal deposit-taking or worse, disguised as a gold trading/investment business, the Bank of Ghana does not appear to have exercised its powers under sections 20 to 22 of Act 930 at all. If MenzGold is breaching that Act then we expect the Bank to do more than issuing a warning statement. We expect the Bank to take the steps set out by law and apply the sanctions provided in the law for breaches, if any. However if the law has not been breached by MenzGold, and it is engaged in genuine business, then the Bank of Ghana’s statement is dangerous and has to potential to kill that business, unjustifiably.
OccupyGhana® does not need to remind the Bank of Ghana that Act 930 gives it immense powers with respect to deposit-taking and then prohibits anyone from accepting deposits from the general public or carrying on a deposit-taking business without the Bank’s licence.
OccupyGhana® does not have to remind the Bank of Ghana that where the Bank “has sufficient reason to believe that a person is transacting or carrying on a deposit-taking business or taking deposits in contravention” of the law, the Bank has the power to cause a full-scale forensic audit to be conducted of that business to first ascertain that that person is involved in the illegal activity, and then “close down the business of [that] person.”
The Bank of Ghana does not need any further reminder it that it is for good reason that the law empowers it, as part of this forensic audit, to demand the production of all books, instruct the freezing of assets, suspend the business, etc.
The Bank of Ghana must be aware of its power to ensure the refund of all monies obtained and profits accrued, the return of all assets acquired as a result of the illegal activity, and the payment of interest that may be owing to people. The law adds that a person who fails to do these is deemed to be bankrupt and that the Bank has the power to apply to court for the winding up and sequestration of the estate of that person.
Who needs to remind the Bank of Ghana that the above civil sanctions do not affect the person’s criminal liability for unauthorised deposit-taking, which includes fines and/or imprisonment between 2 and 4 years?
If the Bank of Ghana does not require any of the above reminders of the vast powers given to it by the people of Ghana to prevent (and protect us from) unauthorised deposit-taking, then it beggars belief that the Bank has not taken any action except to issue a mere press statement. What is worse, the Bank has not yet determined whether the law has been broken or not.
In this regard all of the Bank of Ghana, the SEC and the MinCom have failed Ghana, by neglecting to take any of the statutory steps to ascertain whether MenzGold is involved in any illegal business, and then take control of its activities to ensure an orderly dismantling of it, including ensuring that the actors are punished in accordance with the law. This inaction by the Bank, and the silence of both the SEC and MinCom, are shockingly unacceptable.
If on the other hand Menzgold is engaged in genuine business, then the Bank’s statement is injurious and has the potential of killing it unjustifiably, which act could trigger a huge run and rush for monies paid, potential tortious liability for the Bank and the dreaded “judgment debt” which, of course, would be met with taxpayer funds.
It is on the basis of the foregoing that OccupyGhana® is demanding of the Bank, SEC and MinCom that they exercise their statutory powers in this matter in order that the law might take its normal course if it has to. It is our expectation as citizens that the above-mentioned institutions will take the appropriate steps and promptly.
Yours in the service of God and Country,
OccupyGhana®

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The Bank of Ghana on August 6, 2018, issued a public notice cautioning the public against doing business with Menzgold Company Limited.

BoG, according to the notice, indicated that it is working with other agencies to take appropriate action against the gold buying firm.

The move angered Menzgold who describe the action by the central bank as unfair.

In a statement issued a day after the public notice published by BoG, Menzgold maintained that they are a law-abiding company “working within the remits of our license.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, in a response to BoG on Twitter wrote “ TODAY’s JOKE: Bank of Ghana, so now you dey do propaganda…I beg paa Tell Ghanaians exactly what happened with the 5 or so collapsed banks you duly LICENSED & SUPERVISED for years. Please don’t attempt 1 to use our dear Menzgold to cover up… I beg make we think!”

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SEC orders Menzgold to shut down

Earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered gold trading firm, Menzgold Ghana Limited, to suspend their operations with the public with immediate effect.

In a letter dated September 7 2018, SEC said it has thoroughly investigated the activities of Menzgold and has found that the Nana Appiah Mensah-owned firm does not have the license to trade in gold collectibles from the public.

The statement explained that interactions with representatives of Menzgold confirmed to SEC the view that the aspect of Menzgold’s business which involves purchase and deposit of gold collectibles and guaranteed returns is a capital market activity under Act 929 without a valid license issued by SEC which contravenes the law.

The statement added that subsequent requests have been made by SEC to Menzgold’s lawyers to furnish SEC with specific detailed information on the operations of the firm.

#WeStandWithNAM1
The move by the regulators angered customers of Menzgold who took to social media to declare their support for Nana Appiah Mensah, the CEO of Menzgold under the harshtag #WeStandWithNAM1.
Some youth in Kasoa in the Central Region also held demonstration cautioning the BoG and the SEC to take their hands off the business of Menzgold.

Menzgold Customers Demonstrate to Declare Support for NAMI

Online Migration
On Monday, November 5, 2018, Menzgold Ghana launched an online gold store bars and collectibles buying and selling market platform, known as “MENZGOLD GLOBAL MARKET”.
The platform was to see traders on the “Global Vault Market”– an offline gold market – being migrated onto the global online market at a fee of 5%.

Breaking his silence for the first time on the brouhaha involving his company, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bank of Ghana (BoG), he assured customers that his company will pay them their 15 percent off the initial gold collectibles values committed to the buying and selling on the Menzgold ‘Gold Vault Market’ would start on the 9th November, 2018…”

The intention of the company according to him was to pay off the entire amount in 90 days from their previous release. Mr Mensah said for the past five years, the company has been consistent until it started facing challenges with SEC and the BoG.

He also disclosed the company developed a schedule for the paying but due to rush and apprehension, it was halted. He however revealed the company will pay 15 percent of the dividends of all customers who genuinely want to terminate their deal.

Demonstration and Call on Government.
However, following the inability of Menzgold Ghana to honour its many promises of paying its customers, the customers have taken to the street to demonstrate and call on government to intervene.

No Bailout
Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has meanwhile urged the customers to follow appropriate legal processes to get their monies back.

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah-Min for Information

His comment follows growing calls by some customers for compensation from government if Menzgold fails to refund investments.Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Tuesday, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah blamed the customers for not dong due diligence before investing their monies.

He cited how the customers of Menzgold ignored warnings of Securities and Exchange Commission to buttress his point.

The only option, Hon. Oppong Nkrumah said is for the aggrieved customers to seek legal redress.

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