NAM 1 on GHC500million cedi bail, denies charges

Nana Appiah Mensah Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of defunct Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah aka NAM 1, has been granted a bail of GHC500 million with four sureties. Appearing before an Accra High Court, (Financial division) for the first time, NAM 1 pleaded not guilty to 39 counts of money laundering, defrauding by false pretences, selling gold without license, operating a deposit taking business without license, selling gold without license, fraudulent breach of trust and inducement to invest. NAM 1 was jointly charged with his company Menzgold Ghana and Brew Marketing Consult Limited. The prosecution says it has filed a nolle prose que (discontinuation of case) before the Circuit Court which was previously handling the matter. The court presided over by Justice Ernest Owusu Dapaah, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, ordered to deposit his passport with the court’s registry and report to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service every Thursday. The Court has ordered the prosecution to file disclosures and adjourned the matter to October 27, 2023. Mr Kwame Boafo Akuffo, who represented NAM 1, prayed the court to admit his client to bail, adding prosecution had not considered his client as a flight risk. Defence counsel noted that despite his client’s poor health he had been attending court regularly. He said it was the Bank of Ghana which advised the accused person and others to carry out business modules which had now become a subject matter. Prosecution led by Mr Afried Tuah Yeboah together with Mrs Yvonne Atakorah Obuobisah, Director for Public Prosecution (DPP), did not oppose the bail and prayed the court to consider the amount (GHC1.6 billion) involved when granting bail. Prosecution further prayed the court to order the accused persons to deposit his passport with Court’s registry. Prosecution’s case was that the 2nd accused person Menzgold Ghana Limited, and the 3rd accused person, Brew Marketing Consult Limited, are sister companies owned by Nana Appiah Mensah. The court heard that, Menzgold was first registered as Menzbank Ghana Company Limited in 2013 whereas Brew Marketing Consult Limited was registered in December 2016. It said, NAM1 was a director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult and also majority shareholder of both companies. According to prosecution, NAM1 operated Menzgold as a deposit-taking business under the guise of gold trading, without the requisite license. Prosecution said on March 11, 2015, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) issued a public notice to the effect that Menzbank was an unlicensed deposit- taking institution. The Prosecutor said NAM1, in a bid to circumvent the notice of BoG, changed the company’s name from Menzbank to Menzbanc. It explained that, sometime in 2017, NAM 1 further changed the company’s name from Menzbank to Menzgold Ghana Company Limited. The facts, as stated by the State are that the business module of NAM1 was that Brew Marketing Consult sold gold, gold collectibles, gold ore to the public for the purpose of investing same in Menzgold, when Brew Marketing Consult did not have a license to sell gold. On August 22, 2016, prosecution said the Minerals Commission granted Menzgold a-three-year license to purchase and export gold. According to prosecution, the terms of the license stated that Brew Marketing Consult was to purchase gold from small-scale miners for export only. Prosecution’s case was that Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult breached its restricted gold purchase and exportation license by selling gold to persons in Ghana. It said, in 2016, NAM1 and Menzgold established what they called a gold vault market which provided the public with a platform to trade in gold and gold collectibles. Again, NAM1 and Menzgold, in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of the law, set up Brew Marketing Consult for the purposes of selling gold to the public to enable A2 to take the gold deposits. The Prosecution said between 2017 and 2018, NAM1 and Menzgold invited members of the public to purchase gold and gold collectibles from Brew Marketing Consult and deposit same with Menzgold. It explained that, in various forms of invitations, the accused persons representing Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult as deposit-taking businesses, invited the members of the public to deposit purchased gold and gold collectibles with Menzgold in return for profits ranging from 7% to 10%. In response to the invitation, Prosecution said over 16,000 members of the public deposited huge sums of money with the expectation that they were dealing with an authorized deposit-taking business which would guarantee them the returns as advertised by the accused persons. ‘Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult, continued with their operations despite several engagements and warning notices issued by the relevant agencies,’ it added. Subsequently, Prosecution said members of the public started facing challenges either with delayed payments or reduced dividends; a number of cheques issued by NAM1 and Menzgold were also dishonoured. On September 7, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directed Menzgold to suspend its business for operating without a license from the SEC. Prosecution held that between November 2016 and March 2019, 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 realize their investments after persistent efforts by them. According to prosecution, investigations revealed that the accused persons under false pretenses took a total sum of GHC1,680,920,000 from their customers which the customers have not recovered. Prosecution asserts that investigations further disclosed that between 2017 and 2018, the accused persons transferred huge sums of depositor’s funds from Menzgold Ghana Company Ltd. and Brew Marketing Consult Ltd to Zylofon Media, a company related to Nana Appiah Mensah. ‘Huge sums of money were also withdrawn by Al or transferred into his bank account for his personal use. Investigations have established that the money which was fraudulently obtained from depositors and dishonestly appropriated by the accused persons remained unpaid as Menzgold Ghana Company Limited’s license has been revoked. According to prosecution, some of vehicles were recovered from the accused persons which have been auctioned, and the proceeds kept in an exhibit account. Some gold bars have also been recovered.

Source: Ghana News Agency