Menzgold CEO appears in court today

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah, aka NAM1, is expected to appear before the Accra High Court today for allegedly defrauding 16,000 customers of more than GH¢1.68 billon between January 2017 and September 2018.

He has been charged with two counts of abetment to defraud by false pretence and two counts of abetment to carry out banking business without licence, contrary to Section 6 (1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).

Two of his companies — Brew Marketing Consult and Menzgold Ghana Limited — represented by him, have each been charged with defrauding by false pretence, contrary to sections 20 (1) and 13 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

The two companies have also been charged with carrying out a deposit-taking business without licence, contrary to Section 6 (1) of Act 930.

Also facing the law are his sister and his wife, Benedicta Appiah and Rose Tetteh, respectively, who have been slapped with two counts of abetment to defraud by false pretence and two counts of abetment to carry out banking business without licence, contrary to Section 6 (1) of Act 930. The two women are, however, at large.

Particulars of the offences

A charge sheet sighted by the Daily Graphic stated that between January 2017 and September 2018, Brew Marketing Consult and Menzgold defrauded one Francis Agodzie and 16,000 others of more than GH¢1.68 billon.

It further accused the two entities of carrying out an illegal deposit-taking business during the same period.

The charge sheet explained that Mensah, Appiah and Tetteh aided Brew Marketing Consult and Menzgold to defraud the customers of the GH¢1.68 billon.

With regard to the charge of abetment to carrying out deposit-taking business without licence, the three suspects are accused of aiding the two companies to illegally carry out a deposit-taking business.

Arrival

NAM1 arrived at the Kotoka International Airport via Emirates Airline flight EK787 at 10.58 a.m. yesterday and was quickly whisked away by security personnel from Interpol Ghana and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

He was accompanied on the flight by Interpol officials from Dubai, who handed him over to Interpol Ghana officials as soon as he disembarked from the plane.

An emaciated NAM 1 was spotted wearing an ash sweat suit with a hood, with which he covered his face to avoid being recognised. His hands were handcuffed behind him.

Flanked by two policemen, with other security men following closely behind, he limped slowly and managed to make it to the offices of the Financial Forensic Unit (FFU) on the first floor of the CID?Headquarters.

As soon as he made it to the offices of the FFU, the frail NAM 1 pulled off the hood to reveal his bushy hair and unkept moustache, as he awaited the arrival of his two lawyers, Messrs Kwame Akufo and Kofi Supremo.

Background

The Ghana Police Service triggered an Interpol alert on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 to facilitate a search for NAM1 globally.

The police also obtained a warrant for the arrest of NAM 1 and two other directors of Menzgold on charges of defrauding by false pretences. The two directors are Rose Tetteh and Benedicta Appiah.

The arrest warrant followed reports by customers of the company to the effect that they had been defrauded.

Emeriti officials arrested Mensah on December 7, 2018, in line with investigations into a gold trading deal within the Emirate jurisdiction. Following his arrest, Ghanaian officials in Dubai visited him while he was in the custody of the Dubai Police.

A special delegation of security operatives also left Accra for Dubai in connection with his arrest to gather first-hand information regarding his arrest by the Emeriti authorities.

NAM 1

Nana Mensah shot to prominence in 2017 after his association with Ghana’s creative arts industry with his Zylofon Media Company Limited.

He signed Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Becca, Kumi Guitar, Joyce Blessing, all musicians, along with the actor Toosweet Annan and actress Benedicta Gafah, onto his Zylofon Media record label.

Before he ventured into the entertainment industry with Zylofon Media, he had operated the gold dealership firm, Menzgold Ghana Limited.

Nana Appiah is also the CEO of Brew Marketing Consult, Menzgold Espana S.L, T.I.A. Holdings (USA), Brew Energy Company Limited, Brew Realty Company Limited and Cheetah Security Co. Limited.

He is married to Rose Tetteh, who is the CEO of Rozzy’s Collection, a fashion shop in Accra, and they have a son.

Aggrieved customers

In 2017, Menzgold came under fire from two regulators, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which fire intensified last year.

The SEC, in a notice published in the Monday, October 2, 2018 edition of the Daily Graphic, informed the public that Menzgold Ghana Limited had “neither been licensed nor its adverts sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to carry out any activity in the capital market”.

According to the notice, Menzgold was not a SEC-regulated entity because its operations contravened Section 3 (c) of the Securities Industries Act, 2016 (Act 929), which dealt with the registration, licensing, authorisation and regulation of entities in the securities market.

The BoG also cautioned the public against depositing money with Menzgold because it had not been licensed to take deposits.

However, Nana Mensah called the bluff of the BoG, describing the statement as a joke and a diversionary tactic. Later, the SEC directed Menzgold to suspend its gold trading operations with the public.

Despite initial protests, Menzgold complied with the directive but failed to fully pay its numerous customers whose investments fell due, a situation which later blossomed into a series of protests across major cities such as Kumasi and Accra.

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