The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has filed 39 counts of fresh criminal charges at the High Court against embattled Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold Ghana Company Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah, popularly known as NAM 1.
This comes after more than 36 appearances without a trial over three years, 11 months by the accused person at the Circuit Court pending the Attorney-General’s advice.
In the new charge sheet filed at the High Court in Accra yesterday, NAM 1, together with Menzgold Ghana Company Limited (MGCL) and Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited, has been charged with a string of charges, including selling gold without licence, operating deposit-taking institution without a licence, inducement to invest and defrauding by false pretence, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering.
According to the facts before the court, the accused persons, under false pretences, took in excess of GH¢1.68 billion from their customers and had since not recovered the money.
NAM 1 is expected to make his first appearance in court on September 19, this year.
Per the brief facts before the court, Menzgold Ghana Company Limited was first registered as Menzbank Ghana Company Limited in 2013 whereas Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited was registered in December 2016.
The two are sister companies owned by NAM 1 – a director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold Ghana Company Limited and Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited.
He is also the majority shareholder of both companies.
According to the prosecution, NAM 1 operated Menzgold Ghana Company Limited as a deposit-taking business under the guise of gold trading, without the requisite licence.
On March 11, 2015, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) issued a public notice to the effect that Menzbank was an unlicensed deposit-taking institution.
It added that Nam 1, in a bid to circumvent the notice of BoG, changed the company's name from Menzbank to Menzbanc.
In 2017, the prosecution said NAM 1 further changed the company's name from Menzbanc to Menzgold Ghana Company Limited.
According to the A-G, the business module of Mensah was that Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited sold gold, gold collectibles and gold ore to the public for the purpose of investing same in Menzgold, when Brew Marketing Consult did not have a licence to sell gold.
On August 22, 2016, the Minerals Commission, the prosecution statement said, granted Menzgold a three-year licence to purchase and export gold.
The terms of the licence stipulated that Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited was to purchase gold from small-scale miners for export only.
“Menzgold Company Ltd and Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited breached its restricted gold purchase and exportation licence by selling gold to persons in Ghana,” the prosecution said.
“In 2016, NAM 1 and Menzgold Company established what they called gold vault market which provided the public with a platform to trade in gold and gold collectibles,” the A-G added.
Additionally, the A-G said NAM 1 and Menzgold Company, in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of the law, set up Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited for the purposes of selling gold to the public to enable Menzgold Company to take the gold deposits.
“Between 2017 and 2018, NAM 1 and Menzgold invited members of the public to purchase gold and gold collectibles from Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited and deposit same with it,” it said.
In various forms of invitations, the A-G said the accused person, representing Menzgold Company Ltd and Brew Marketing Consult as deposit-taking businesses, invited the members of the public to deposit purchased gold and gold collectibles in return for profits ranging from seven per cent to 10 per cent.
“In response to this invitation, over 16,000 members of the public deposited huge sums of money with the expectation that they were dealing with an authorised deposit-taking business which would guarantee them the returns as advertised by the accused persons,” the prosecution added.
The A-G added that Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult Ghana Limited continued with their operations, in spite of several engagements and warning notices issued by the relevant agencies.
“Meanwhile, members of the public started facing challenges either with delayed payments or reduced dividends; a number of cheques issued by NAM 1 and Menzgold Company Ltd were also dishonoured,” the prosecution noted in the charge sheet.
On September 7, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directed Menzgold to suspend its business for operating without a licence from the SEC.
Between November 2016 and March 2019, the A-G said many customers of the accused persons petitioned the police complaining that they had invested huge sums of money with the accused persons but were unable to realise their investments after persistent efforts by them.
Investigations revealed that the accused persons, under false pretences, took more than GH¢1.68 billion from their customers which they had not been able to recover.
The Attorney-General said investigations further disclosed that between 2017 and 2018, the accused person transferred huge sums of depositors’ funds from Menzgold Ghana Company Ltd and Brew Marketing Consult Ltd to Zylofon Media, a company related to NAM 1, adding: “Huge sums of money were also withdrawn by NAM 1 or transferred into his bank account for his personal use”.
“Investigations have established that the money fraudulently obtained from depositors and dishonestly appropriated by the accused persons remained unpaid as Menzgold Ghana Company Ltd’s licence was revoked.
“In the course of investigations, a number of vehicles were recovered from the accused person, which have been auctioned, and the proceeds kept in an exhibit account. Some gold bars were also recovered from the accused persons,” the prosecution added.