Lawyers representing the customers of Menzgold Ghana Limited, have petitioned Parliament to freeze the local and international assets of Nana Appiah Mensah (alias NAM 1), the CEO of the defunct gold-trading firm.
The petition signed by lawyers Amanda Clinton and Bianca Clinton also wants Parliament to work with the Attorney General's (A-G) Department to pass legislation that will deal with Ponzi schemes in Ghana.
The lawyers are also requesting specialist guidelines for government agencies including the AG, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Security, Interpol, CID, NIB, Office of the President on the fight against Ponzi schemes.
"We ask that Parliament, and in particular the finance committee, work with the Attorney General’s department, even at this late stage, to cull as much assets as possible so that our clients may be able to retrieve some funds," the petition reads.
"Furthermore, if parliament works with the Attorney General’s department to follow suit with other countries and actively pass legislation dealing with Ponzi/pyramid schemes, this is another way of addressing the Menzgold matter, even at such a late stage and to set a precedent so that this level of financial loss to the general public never occurs again particularly since Menzgold was caught by Act 929, but illegally remained unregulated".
The petition further warns that the failure to deal effectively with perpetrators of Ponzi schemes mars the credibility of Ghana's public institutions both locally and internationally.
“It is an open invitation to future criminals since government maintains its position that it can do nothing for those who invested in an unregulated company (whilst admitting that the company fell under their remit but somehow remained unregulated and open for business for years without sanction or adequate consequences).”
The lawyers have in a separate case sued four state agencies claiming that they were negligent in the Menzgold saga.
The four agencies the former customers have sued are the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Attorney General’s Department.
They are demanding GH¢11,402.000.00 in damages.
The facts, as presented by state Prosecutor ASP Asare, are that in October 2018, the police received a complaint from about 16,000 people that Menzgold had convinced them to invest GH¢1.68 billion in a gold purchase scheme that yielded 10 per cent monthly interest.
According to him, the complainants said their money was locked up and that they could not find Nana Mensah and the other principal officers of the company.
The prosecutor said investigations revealed that Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult were incorporated as limited liability companies in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
Menzgold, he said, obtained a licence from the Minerals Commission in August 2016 to purchase and export gold from small-scale miners, and that in order to successfully engage in the business, Nana Mensah founded Brew Marketing Consult to be a gold buying agent.
ASP Asare said although Menzgold was licensed to purchase gold, it was not licensed by the Minerals Commission to trade in gold.
Notwithstanding the lack of such a licence, he said, Menzgold went public after its incorporation and invited the public to deposit money for a fixed period with interest, on the pretext of gold purchasing.
The prosecutor said further investigations revealed that the three accused persons were the directors and principal officers of Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult.
NAM 1 was released from police custody on August 17, 2019, after meeting his revised bail conditions.
Earlier, the court had varied the bail conditions to allow for five sureties to guarantee his bail without showing evidence of having properties worth the GH¢1 billion bail sum.
The court, however, refused a request by counsel for Nana Appiah for a reduction in the bail sum from GH¢1 billion to GH¢20 million.
Hitherto, the court had ordered, on July 26, 2019, that three of the five sureties should show justification, meaning they must show proof that they had properties or interests worth the GH¢1 billion bail sum.
As part of the bail conditions, the Menzgold CEO was ordered to report himself to the Ghana Police Service every Wednesday.
The prosecution had accused Nana Mensah, his wife, Ms Rose Tetteh, and his sister, Ms Benedicta Mensah, of using Menzgold as a tool to defraud more than 16,000 people of GH¢1.68 billion.
His wife and his sister are, however, at large.