Menzgold: Prosecution asks for more time two years after NAM 1 arrest
Two years after the arrest of Menzgold CEO Nana Appiah Mensah (NAM1), the prosecution team is yet to file processes for the trial to commence.
The team led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Slyvester Asare is still asking the court for more time to build a watertight case against the embattled CEO.
When the case was called on Thursday, May 27, ASP Asare, who appeared to have come to court to woo the judge Evelyn Asamoah, gave an adjournment speech that NAM1 would welcome but likely to enrage Menzgold customers.
“At the last sitting, my Lady made the orders that prosecution files the necessary processes. Be it as it may, the prosecution is unable to file the processes on time as directed by this court. We submit that in all humility, this is not deliberate to delay or disrespect the order of this court.
“The records will show that at the last sitting, we indicated and pleaded with the court, as it is, in the interest of justice. This morning (Thursday), we are again on bended knees. Although standing, we ask that you give us the necessary ear.
“My principal (Attorney General’s office) is not sleeping on this matter. We will ensure that we file the necessary processes. We pray that in the interest of justice, my Lady grants an adjournment to enable parties to put their house in order,” ASP Asare pleaded.
This is not the first time the prosecution has asked for more time.
At the last sitting, the prosecutor, ASP Asare, had told the court that they would file new charges against the businessman who is facing charges of money laundering, stealing and taking deposits without authority.
Charged alongside NAM1 is his wife, Rose Tetteh, including his sister, Benedicta Appiah, for aiding him in his alleged fraudulent act.
However, the two women are still at large as their whereabouts remain a mystery to the police.
ASP Asare indicated the amended charge sheet was ready and would be filed to pave the way for the commencement of the trial.
Having listened to the prosecution’s plea once again, the Accra Circuit Court judge, Evelyn Asamoah, waited to see if counsel for the accused had any objections before making a decision.
Audrey Twum, who stood in for the accused’s lawyer, was unruffled, causing the judge to adjourn the case.
The case is set to continue on July 6, 2021.
Meanwhile, the 61 charges originally brought against the embattled Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold has been withdrawn.
The prosecution is expected to file new charges against NAM 1 to enable the court to take his plea.
As presented by ASP Asare, the facts of the case were 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% monthly interest.
According to the prosecution, the complainants said their money was locked up and that they could not find Nana Appiah 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 license from the Minerals Commission in August 2016 to purchase and export gold from small-scale miners.
Nana Mensah founded Brew Marketing Consult to be a gold buying agent to engage in the business successfully.
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.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) later directed Menzgold to suspend its gold trading operations with the public.
The Commission revealed that the aspect of Menzgold’s business, which involves the purchase/deposit of gold collectables from the public and contracts issued with guaranteed returns with clients, was a capital market activity (issuance of gold-backed depository notes to the public) under Act 929 without a valid licence issued by SEC contrary to Section 109 of Act 929 with consequences under section 206 (1) of the same act.”
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) also saw the operations of Menzgold as a form of deposit-taking.
Without a licence from the central bank, the Menzgold business was declared to have violated the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016.
The two regulatory bodies decided to shut down the operations of Menzgold.
But NAM 1 fought back, insisting that his business was legal and did not need approval from the SEC and BoG.
Menzgold decided to sue BoG and SEC for shutting down its business, describing the action as “premature, hasty, arbitrary and clearly intended to affect its accrued rights and customers in a prejudicial manner.”
The company was seeking a declaration that the order by the SEC constitutes “an abuse of its discretionary powers and is arbitrary, capricious and contrary to Articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution.”
However, the Accra High Court dismissed the suit.
Nana Appiah Mensah was arrested over the charges after returning to Ghana from a business trip to Dubai.
After meeting his revised bail conditions, he was later released from police custody on August 17, 2019.
Earlier, the court had varied the bail conditions to allow 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.
On July 26, 2019, the court ordered 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, he is also to report to the Ghana Police Service every Wednesday.