Embattled gold dealership firm, Menzgold Ghana Limited, has directed all its employees across the country to proceed on leave, effective Monday, December 10, 2018.
Branch managers have, however, been transferred to work temporarily at the company’s head office at Dzorwulu in Accra.
The members of staff numbering about 1,200, are expected to resume work on Thursday, December 20, 2018.
The directive, according to a notice served on Tuesday and signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, comes on the back of what the company describes as an “incessant security threats from customers on the lives and properties of staff body and the company.”
The company, which has since August been struggling to pay returns to its customers following a back and forth with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), explained that the leave had become necessary because the current environment, “is not conducive for operational activities”.
It explained further that, upon resumption of work on Thursday, December 20, all outstanding entitlements including end of year packages shall be paid to staff members.
“Continue to be calm and keep faith and be rest assured that we shall endeavour to ensure you have job security,” the statement assured its staff members.
It further stated that “a date for the company’s end of year staff durbar will be communicated by management soon.”
Online trading platform paused
The company has also put on hold its online gold trading product which was launched in October.
According to the statement, the suspension is to allow “the authorities to cogitate and present a final say to us and the public on the matter in question in the next few days.”
Thus, the company says the 5 per cent migration fees paid by customers shall be fully reimbursed to them from Monday, December 10 to Friday, December 15, 2018.
Meanwhile, aggrieved customers of the company have petitioned President Akufo-Addo and other state institutions to help them retrieve their investments which have been locked up in the company.
The customers, who have constituted themselves into a group called the Coalition of Aggrieved Customers of Menzgold, on Tuesday, November 27, embarked on a demonstration to express their frustrations at the company’s failure to pay back in full the value of gold traded within 90 days, commencing from October 9.
In a petition presented to the BoG and the Ministry of Information, the aggrieved customers appealed to the President, Parliament and other high-profile state institutions to act swiftly to ensure that Menzgold Ghana paid all its customers their principal investment in full within three months.
Gov’t has no obligation to Menzgold customers
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta has said that much as the issue of Menzgold was disturbing, government was not obliged to pay persons whose moneys have been locked up in the company.
Attributing the decision of people to invest in the company as pure greed, Mr Ofori-Atta said persons who chose to invest in Menzgold did so at their own peril.
“As we try to clean up the financial services centre, I know the SEC has come down hard, strong and justifiably on Menzgold. But the issue with a company of Menzgolld, it has become an issue of greed as a people and our own behaviour, when we are so clear as educated as we might be that when we went there, there was no license,” Mr Ofori-Atta said at the 20th-anniversary commemoration of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on September 12, 2018 directed gold trading firm Menzgold Ghana Limited to shut down their investment operations with immediate effect for contravening the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929).
The SEC order also warned Menzgold to halt advertising their investment business and desist from creating new contracts with depositors.
According to a letter addressed to the Menzgold CEO, Nana Appiah Mensah by the SEC investigations conducted by the regulator found that Menzgold's business which involved the purchase/deposit of gold from the public and contracts issued with guaranteed returns with clients was a capital market activity which could not be conducted without a valid license issued by the SEC.
The letter dated September 7 and signed by Paul Ababio, the Deputy Director-General of the SEC, warned that the failure of Menzgold to comply with the directive will lead to the SEC employing other relevant measures under the law to enforce compliance.