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Menzgold CEO goes back to custody - No charges read against him

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Nana Appiah Mensah, (aka NAM1)
Nana Appiah Mensah, (aka NAM1)

Nana Appiah Mensah, (aka NAM1), the embattled Chief Executive Officer of Menzgold Ghana Limited, was hauled before the Accra Circuit Court in a dramatic fashion as Mrs Jane Harriet Akweley Quaye, the presiding judge, was virtually compelled to conduct her court as early as about 6:30 a.m. to hear the litany of charges against him.

NAM1 was sent to court as early as 6 a.m. by heavily armed police officers who were accompanied by some senior police officers such as the Director-General of the Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr David Eklu.

The team got to the court premises even before the presiding judge reported for work, effectively cutting out the frenzy of customers, spectators and media personnel who were keen on not missing any part of the drama that is usually associated with such high-profile cases.

When the judge eventually started proceedings at about 6:30 a.m., the police prayed the court to hear the case in chambers due to its security nature, but Ms Quaye refused and decided to hear it in open court.

In a process that lasted for about 20 minutes, the Accra Circuit Court remanded NAM1 in police custody.

Charges

No charges were read against NAM1 in the courtroom, but it is expected that he will eventually be charged with allegedly defrauding 16,000 people of more than GH¢1.6 billion.

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The remand yesterday by the court was to enable him to assist the police in their investigations.

He will reappear before the court on July 26, 2019.

That followed a prayer by the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr Sylvester Asare, who submitted that investigations were still ongoing in the alleged activities of Mensah.

Mensah was represented by a team of three lawyers led by Mr Kwame Akuffo.

The police agenda for taking NAM 1 to court yesterday was to secure a remand to enable the police to put him in custody in order for them to carry on with investigations.

Police sources have also explained that whisking him from the airport last Thursday and securing an early court proceedings were done for the safety of the accused, whom many had accused of defrauding them.

Expected charges

The Daily Graphic can confirm that the charge sheet shows the police have preferred eight different charges against NAM1, his wife, his sister and two of his companies—Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult.

Mensah 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).

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.

Arrival

NAM1 arrived at the Kotoka International Airport via Emirates Airline flight EK787 at 10.58 a.m. yesterday and was 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.

NAM 1 was spotted wearing an ash sweatsuit 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 lawyers.

Aggrieved customers

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

That 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.