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Brick Mansions: The MenzGold tale

Brick Mansions: The MenzGold tale

The entire of Ghana is buzzing with information of ‘MenzGold’, victims and non-victims alike have opinion on the difficulty and everybody appears to need their opinion heard. There’s a sure degree of curiousness hooked up to human nature and the necessity for info. This can be a compilation of some details and an goal overview on these points and a transparent prediction of the longer term for all events involved.

Menzgold is a Ghanaian registered firm beneath the Ghana’s 1963 Firm Act (Act179) and has been working since October 2014, although their web site states that they’ve been in operation for a yr; That is their first lie. The firm offers within the buy, sale and export of saved gold, silver and different valuable stones.

The firm outlines a variety of providers starting from gold funding to mining pre-financing on their web site and different commercial portfolios. The firm is alleged to have operated in Kasoa between 2010-2014 underneath a special identify ‘Menzbank’ and had duped numerous market ladies in that space and gotten away with it.

The Financial institution of Ghana(BoG) herein known as BoG had intervened and made threats, nevertheless no data of an investigation or conclusive consequence was made, Additionally, it’s alleged that the proprietor of Menzbank, Mr Nana Appiah popularly generally known as ‘Nam1’ was arrested however launched afterward. This SHAKEN grounds was the start of the lifeline of MenzBank and MenzGold-Ghana which was a rebranded and revitalized model of the earlier Menzbank.

It made Menzbank its umbrella identify and redirected its consideration to gold dealership. All our nationwide regulators watched unconcerned! Until right now, the Menzgold web sites purports to being affiliated to a ‘Switzerland Gold Bank’, this stated financial institution has on a quantity events denied such an alliance by way of emails with investigative journalists and their signed assertion therefore forcing Menzgold officers to retract such claims on social media however they haven’t had the courtesy to do similar for his or her official web site.

That is their second lie. Menzgold has on quite a few events said that it isn’t a monetary establishment in response to allegation from the Financial institution of Ghana. An off-the-cuff skim by means of the actions of any monetary establishment and that of MenzGold exhibits some exact similarities. If it appears like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it in all probability is a duck.

That is their third lie. In an costly marketing campaign Menzgold communicated its separate character by insisting it doesn’t settle for deposits therefore it isn’t a monetary establishment or accountable to the BoG. Sadly, earlier than the BoG warning in 2017, Menzgold had accepted deposits from quite a few clients whose names are withheld in the meanwhile. In response to the decision by BoG on their deposit amassing breach, Menzgold craftily arrange a brand new subsidiary firm referred to as Brew Advertising seek the advice of ltd to simply accept deposits within the identify of buying gold gadgets. (I’ll talk about the brew marking seek the advice of intimately in one other article).

This was yet one more artful lie and means across the regulation. The velocity at which Brew seek the advice of ltd was licensed is a matter for dialogue anther day. Virtually each bureaucratic course of takes weeks and months in Ghana but Brew Advertising ltd received the categorical remedy in all probability with the pushing of funds on the time of the supposed first warning by the BoG, there was clear proof to help assortment of deposits and grounds for sanctions and authorized motion, nevertheless our ever promising regulators felt a warning was sufficient. Let’s discover the position of the varied regulators.

The Securities and Change Fee (SEC) and different regulators are described because the statutory physique mandated by the Securities Business Act 2016 (Act 929) to advertise the orderly progress and improvement of an environment friendly, truthful and clear securities market through which buyers and the integrity of the market are protected. Their broader mantle captured on their web site includes examine and licencing of operatives.

The SEC is remitted to create a system of equity, regulate operations of corporations, supply sanctions, probe all allegations of improper doings. Lastly and most significantly shield the residents. That is referred to as paternalistic position to of state establishments and an offshoot of the social contract principle. In totality the SEC should guarantee sustainability and progress of market. After MenzGold operations had gained roots and BoG was lastly choosing an curiosity, the SEC determined to intervene and its choices on motion towards MenzGold was infinite but it select to challenge its warnings too.

This can be a problematic stance and one would hope regulators with statutory powers will do greater than challenge warnings A yr later in September 2018 the SEC issued a press release. It said, For the avoidance of doubt the SEC directive said as follows: “Accordingly, the SEC hereby directs Menzgold Company limited to shut down immediately the business of trading in gold collectibles with guaranteed returns to clients which constitutes, in essence, dealing in securities with neither the necessary licence nor disclosures authorized by the SEC. No new contracts should be created and all advertising of the investment business halted with immediate effect”.

The bone of rivalry raised by the SEC was fastened returns promised by the sellers. The SEC in its official communique reiterated; “The Rule on guaranteeing returns has existed within the Compliance Guide for Dealer-Sellers, Funding Advisers and Representatives since January 2008. On the 14 day of April 2014 and the 31 day of march 2015 respectively Circulars with Numbers SEC/CIR/001/2014 and SEC/CIR/002/03/15 have been issued by the SEC cautioning fund managers concerning the forbidden follow of guaranteeing returns and issuing fastened deposits to shoppers.

The current Directive with quantity SEC/FM/DIRECTIVE/06-18 on the 18 June 2018 solely offered a last transition interval to utterly fade out that unlawful market follow. The SEC has not requested any fund supervisor to revise its provisions in Administration Agreements executed with shoppers on redemption of funds over an prolonged interval by any means.

Shoppers ought to insist on implementing the phrases and provisions on shopper redemption provisions in accordance with the Administration Settlement by the Fund Supervisor and the Shopper.” Within the assertion above, the SEC made it clear that there’s a rule that forestalls any firm from promising fastened deposits, but over the lengthy years that MenzGold was working, it had boldly promised a hard and fast lavish return on investments but the SEC took no motion.

To be clear, from the very first day MenzGold began its operation, it was in breach of quite a few guidelines that warranted the revoking of its license but our regulators took no motion. As such the enterprise grew in power and quantity and when the regulators determined it was time to develop a conscience and shield the individuals, the individuals have been in too deep therefore the individuals started a marketing campaign to defend MenzGold (their enterprise companion) making the regulators appear abusive and checks focused to destroy MenzGold. The regulators delay gave MenzGold the chance to construct confidence by means of its consistency in paying returns and different obligations, as such when the regulators stepped in, it appeared inconceivable to shake that confidence off.

The SEC had the mandate to withdraw the license pending investigation amongst different options said in its mandate but selected to take a seat idle for years. What’s the public to do when the watchdogs to guard them sit idle and situation warnings? Specialists in a area of research with no energy can difficulty warning however a regulator takes motion. A Regulator remembers its mandate to guard its individuals and its financial system by removing any unscrupulous conduct.

Even on the face of points with out wanting on the financial institution data and different privileged knowledge, one can clearly see some uncouth conduct that might ship warning indicators to any well-meaning regulator to concern a halt and do a correct probe. Even within the communiques issued by these regulators none of them asserts its authority to take duty for the circumstance however quite are fast to switch full culpability to the uninformed victims. Can one think about such contemptible conduct from regulators within the west?

In a single disheartening video we hear the finance minister of Ghana Ken Ofori Atta, making jokes about this difficulty and blaming victims to “have known better” and as such have full culpability of their ordeal.

His place could be interpreted because the place of presidency and the shortage of sympathy in these circumstances is of great concern even to the extent of describing the Ghanaians who elected him as grasping! Does he absolutely perceive the far reaching implications of a nasty financial system? Does he know the variety of companies hanging by a thread referred to as ‘MenzGold’, with out which they might go underneath? Does this conceited minister know that lots of people go after these schemes not out of greed to construct one other skyscraper however as a result of there are virtually by no means sufficient assets to feed one’s youngsters not to mention pay faculty charges, payments and taxes? Does our so referred to as minister know that at no level in official transcript earlier than his inhumane feedback, nobody had talked about that MenzGold didn’t have a license to function in gold associated merchandise? Does he additionally respect that authorities is elected to characterize and shield the individuals type injustice and as such if and when individuals have been exploited on a big scale authorities and all of the regulators involved have to be questioned as to how this occurred beneath their watch? Does he know that by regulation authorities should proper these fallacious and construct the populace belief within the authorities? Does he additionally respect that it’s the position of the federal government and courts to make sure a redress of all events involved? Such feedback by this minister makes residents lose religion in authorities and take the regulation into their very own palms in pursuit of jungle justice by way of vandalism and mob actions. Our elected and appointed officers should assessment and watch their feedback in public, they need to acknowledge that they’re the mouth piece of the nation at each event. Their feedback have international implications.

Over the previous few months, the world appeared on as Ghanaian regulative equipment and the police appeared on helplessly. There are three clear messages being despatched to anyone prepared to pay attention. Firstly, the legal guidelines in Ghana don’t work, anyone can benefit from individuals for an extended time period and the response of presidency shall be “they should have known better!” It is very important point out that this isn’t the primary second and even twentieth time this Ponzi scheme has ripped Ghanaians dry. MenzGold won’t be a Ponzi scheme, I promised to take care of an goal streak nevertheless all logical indicators maintain MenzGold responsible to the bone. As a lawless nation which permits every day injustice, we’ve got created a society that’s really acutely aware and conscious the regulation doesn’t work.

Secondly, we’ve got gracefully confirmed a scarcity of character and promise in our financial reforms. Our funding capital is so risky to abuse by repeated “one man show” pranks. Not all of the clientele of MenzGold are Ghanaian as such our fame is spreading. Our weak financial system is more and more wanting unattractive to buyers, quickly Ghana will probably be a no go space for buyers perhaps then our authorities will develop balls to reply.

It’s fascinating how an organization that had gained nationwide prominence and had conferences with the President, the Chief Imam and the Asantehene can be described with ridicule by the finance minister whereas insulting the intelligence of Ghanaians, perhaps the President and different dignitaries shouldn’t be assembly questionable characters with a risk of duping Ghanaians? In lieu of context, the three most influential personalities in Ghana presently are the President, the Asantehene and the Chief Imam who all welcomed Nana Appiah, the proprietor of MenzGold into their respective workplaces the place at one assembly Nana Appiah pledged a million dollars which was met with overwhelming applause. Additionally it is purported that these dignified individuals have invested in MenzGold as properly. Most individuals didn’t give MenzGold a re-assessment until they noticed all of the individuals they appear as much as engaged in these dealings. A broad spectrum of musicians/actors/actresses together with Stonebwoy, Becca, Joselyn Dumas, Jackie Appiah and our personal elected officers normalized and legitimized the enterprise by endorsing its operations.

As soon as once more, I’m on no account blaming these officers or celebrities however I insist their position in making the gentleman’s enterprise appear respectable can’t be ignored. Most weak individuals consider they’re position fashions and can perceive their yoke and solely advance licit ventures. Describing the circumstances as an apparent lure is deceptive as a result of these officers took a centre stage in Ghanaian politics and have been as much as process on paying all their returns.

I do agree with the finance minister when he says we should clear up the monetary sector nevertheless I doubt a person who makes jokes of individuals’s predicament and vulnerability will give this situation the seriousness it deserves.

Thirdly, there’s a steady normalization of crime and corruption additional. By blaming victims, we inform them anybody can do as they please and there will probably be no justice. Basically our nation is rising into an economically failed state the place HIPC may be an alternative choice for presidency once more. It’s saddening that this stuff occurred beneath the watch of a authorities that got here into energy by driving the typical Ghanaian place completely, all the marketing campaign of the NPP was sympathetic to the predicament the strange Ghanaian was dealing with but they stand ignoring hundreds of victims once they want motion to be taken.

I perceive authorities can’t bounce each time one thing goes incorrect, nor can they defend each sufferer in such circumstances. Nevertheless, it turns into alarming when the catastrophe is thus far reaching and it’s eroding the picture of the nation. The authorities should reply in these circumstances to make sure it doesn’t perpetuate itself and proceed the cycle of exploitation rising within the Ghanaian financial system. It was heart-warming to examine a petition to the President by the legal professionals of the victims, if the president was capable of meet the stated gentleman and supply his enterprise legitimacy then the President owes it to the Ghanaians who seems as much as him to step in and supply a relaxing voice and redirection. Failure to take action will make it sure that the view of the finance minister is reflective of his personal sentiment on the difficulty.

Now to stability the scales, I do admit it’s potential that that is all a gross misunderstanding. With no official assertion to elucidate the complete element of those occurrences, most Ghanaians should scrap the corners to get info and even make sense of their circumstances. A readability from our regulator is crucial in the meanwhile.

If certainly MenzGold is an trustworthy enterprise and has faulted, they need to be rightly sanctioned and returned to their operations with a written apology from all state equipment who maligned them and forged doubts within the minds of Ghanaians. If certainly MenzGold operated for years with no license and no regulator spoke up until a tally of hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested, then our regulators have failed us. The strategy of licensing is to guard shoppers and make sure that individuals with the requisite coaching can vouch that the processes of a enterprise and its consequence are inside affordable caveat and as such individuals are free to do enterprise with them. Ghanaians aren’t grasping, they’re merely trusting and weak like individuals anyplace on the earth. Authorities’s position in recovering the cash from the individuals concerned is crucial.

The paternalistic position of the federal government provides a statutory mandate for them to offer the victims justice.

To the commentators who nonetheless insist that victims are responsible for his or her loss, my response is that, in case your default answer is accountable individuals for a loss do keep in mind that’s the identical rhetoric used responsible victims of rape and abuse. The sufferer reserves the appropriate to redress even when their conduct accelerated or aided their abuse.

Additionally MenzGold has a contractual obligation with these individuals, all they know is that they need to get their a refund, the regulation could be very particular on this stuff. “They were warned” and their conduct via “We stand with MenzGold” seemed unattractive nevertheless it by no means exonerates the unlucky conduct of some actors. Most individuals wanted assist, most individuals don’t perceive enterprise and prospects and the intricacies of revenue margins and funding outcomes therefore always as a state we should always be capable of depend on the paternalistic nature of presidency to guard its individuals. Some commentators have talked about that the enterprise operations of MenzGold is constructed round a person and most belongings are purchased in his identify utilizing assets from the corporate.

The concept of a separate authorized character and the company authorized character could be suspended if there’s proof of fraudulent behaviour, the concealment precept and the evasion precept when confirmed will probably be sufficient to sink this evasive ship. If certainly there’s fraudulent behaviour, we as a nation should flip each stone needed to make sure justice is served and a brand new order of deterrence from exploitation is constructed.

In conclusion, there have to be a option to make individuals accountable. The legal guidelines of Ghana should work, quite a few individuals are on document for being on this predicament and this exhibits a requirement for urgency. One should admit, the regulators may be checking out the problems behind closed doorways and getting ready a authorized and monetary redress, nevertheless justice delayed is justice denied. I consider a yr of hypothesis and a 4 months of probing is sufficient time to make arrests, freeze accounts and difficulty official statements on the processes of their investigation. Preserving the general public in suspense is making individuals careworn, belligerent and breeding pugnacious manner amongst victims. Blaming victims is unlucky and incentive, I agree individuals make fallacious selections and decisions and typically they get duped however underneath no circumstance ought to the regulation flip the opposite method and blame victims. The duty of the regulation is to deliver stability and justice. This is a chance to revitalize the weakened religion of the populace within the judicial system. There are lots of people on this state of affairs and it’s really unhappy and unlucky.

In as a lot as individuals have been warned, these individuals shouldn’t have been allowed to function within the first place. The authorities should make sure that it protects its individuals from all types of entrapment and extortion no matter the place it’s coming from.

Keera Akosua Nyansapor

Okay.A.N.

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