General News of Sunday, 13 January 2019
An Accra High Court has given the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the green light to go ahead and scrutinise the operation of Menzgold Ghana Limited as it dismissed a suit filed by the gold dealership company against the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and SEC.
This was after the court, presided over by Mrs Justice Akua Sarpomaa Amoah, upheld the preliminary objection raised by BoG and SEC.
BoG and SEC contended that Menzgold did not exhaust all the regulatory mechanisms for redress before going to court.
SEC/Security agencies to descend on Menzgold
SEC is expected to collaborate with security and law enforcement agencies, as well as the civil service, to scrutinise Menzgold.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, after rightly determining that it has the power to regulate Menzgold, wrote to the company to suspend recruitment of new customers in its gold collectible business.
SEC also asked Menzgold to submit all documents on its operations for scrutiny.
According to the regulator, if after scrutiny the business model proves sustainable, SEC would then license Menzgold.
However, Menzgold wrote to SEC, arguing that the regulator lacks authority to regulate it, and refused to submit documents to SEC.
Menzgold sues BoG and SEC in September 2018
To stop SEC from taking further action, Menzgold, in September 2018, sued BoG/SEC, arguing that the two regulators lack the legal authority to regulate its business.
It then proceeded to court praying for an order directing BoG and SEC to desist from interfering in its activities.
Menzgold further prayed the court to restrain the two institutions from further publishing any alleged derogatory notices concerning its operations.
Suit stopped SEC from investigations
Due to the suit, SEC could not proceed further with its investigations.
Now that the court has settled the matter, SEC can now proceed with further actions.
The suit, filed at the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court, described the two regulators as indulging in activities that were “harmful” to its operations.
Menzgold also wanted the two institutions to retract and apologise for the previous notices they had published.
It claimed that certain notices issued by BoG and SEC in relation to its operations were “arbitrary, capricious and contrary to articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution”.
Menzgold, therefore, wanted an order setting aside the SEC’s directive of September 7, 2018 for the company to suspend its operations.
It also wanted, among other reliefs, a declaration from the court that its activities did not fall under the scope of the BoG or the SEC’s regulations.
Nana Appiah Mensah jumps EOCO bail
The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) is said to have arrested Nana Appiah Mensah, chief executive officer (CEO) of the gold dealership firm, and granted him bail, but he has breached the bail terms and absconded.
Meanwhile, an Accra Circuit Court on Wednesday issued a warrant of arrest for Nana Appiah Mensah, popularly called NAM1, and two of his directors.
The two other persons are Madam Rose Tetteh and Benedicta Mensah, who are reported to be his wife and sister, respectively.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, the Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), confirmed the warrant of arrest.
The CID boss confirmed that the Menzgold boss had fled the country and was now a fugitive; therefore, her outfit had triggered the process for his arrest by INTERPOL in 194 countries.
She said NAM1 was being investigated for money laundering, and would be possibly charged for defrauding by false pretence, contrary to section 131 of Act 29 (60).
On the face of the warrant, Nana Appiah Mensah is charged with defrauding by false pretence contrary to section 131 of the law.
If found guilty, the accused persons could go to jail for between 10 and 25 years.
Private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini, in a Facebook post, noted that sections 132 and 133 shows that it may be extremely difficult to sustain that charge at trial against Nana Appiah Mensah.
This is because, customers signed a contract, did the business and have benefited each month for upwards of five years and reinvested their monies over and over again in the business and this would make it difficult for prosecutors to sustain the charge.
FIC out to freeze assets
Meanwhile, media reports indicate that the Finance Intelligence Centre (FIC) of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had moved to freeze his assets.
The outcome of FIC’s work would determine whether customers stand a chance of recovering all or part of their principal investments.
Some aggrieved customers of Menzgold have staged several protests, including one in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, last Tuesday to drum home their appeal, through the Asantehene, to the government to assist them to retrieve their investments.