Ato Forson urges gov't to sell Menzgold and NAM 1's assets to pay customers

By Mutala Yakubu
Ato Forson urges gov't to sell Menzgold and NAM 1's assets to pay customers

Mr Cassiel Ato Forson who is a ranking member of parliament's Finance Committee has called on the government to seize and sell all assets of Menzgold and that of their CEO Nana Appiah Mensah aka NAM 1 to pay their clients.

The Menzgold issue gets murkier by the day as the firm currently ow about 700,000 and one million clients whose investments have been locked up since August this year.

The troubled gold dealership firm petitioned parliament's Finance Committee to help amicably resolve its regulatory issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) so it can pay all entitlements owed its clients.

In the petition dated 3 December 2018 and signed by Corporate Manager Offie Nana Yaw on behalf of the CEO, Menzgold said, inter alia that: "We humbly write to your high office to intervene and help resolve this matter amicably".

Speaking to Class91.3FM's parliamentary correspondent on Friday, 21 December 2018 about the petition, Mr Ato Forson said: "The Menzgold issue is a dicey one", explaining that: "I strongly believe that the government has a responsibility to intervene".

"I strongly also believe that government's 'I-don't-care' attitude is not good enough because the government should intervene to ensure that, at least, at the minimum, the assets of the owners of Menzgold are confiscated, very much so, if possible, sell them and then defray the debt with it.

"The government cannot assume that the guy [NAM1] can commit a crime like this and go away. It's only the government that has the power of the state to be able to use the police, to be able to use the military, to be able to contact Interpol to ensure that the assets of this crime, the person who committed this crime, are brought to book…"

Asked if the government's intervention was necessary since the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned the public several times against doing business with Menzgold due to regulatory concerns, Mr Forson said: "It doesn't matter that [the investors were warned]. A crime is a crime. The government warns people against rape, yet people commit rape, so that doesn't matter.

"At the end of the day, the government doesn't say because I warned you and you have been raped, I'm not going to prosecute the rapist".

In his view, the "government is running away from their responsibility, and that is a shame", adding: "I call on His Excellency the president to use the power vested in him by the Constitution of the Republic, to ensure that the perpetrators, particularly the owners of Menzgold, who have committed such a crime, are brought to book. Use the power of the state to ensure that, indeed, the resources of this crime are located wherever they are and … recovered for the purpose of using [them]".

Private Jet of NAM 1 believed to have been purchased at $44m

"Assuming", he argued, "Somebody has taken GHS10 million of yours, and you can recover GHS9 million, it's better to recover the GHS9 million than to say that: 'I'm not going to act at all'. I think that the government's attitude is nothing but a failure. The government has failed in this matter".

The Minority lawmaker said: "In effect, I am asking the government of the Republic of Ghana, the Chief Executive of the Republic of Ghana, who is the President of the Republic of Ghana, to act to ensure that not only is there prosecution but find where the assets are, sell them, prosecute them, and make sure that the assets are recovered in a way that the ordinary Ghanaian can get his money back.

"It is not in the bosom of the committee, it is in the bosom of the government. What am I going to do? Am I the president of the Republic, do I have the power of the state? I do not have the power of the state. I would have wished that the committee sits, but the committee is not only Ato Forson. We have a committee of 25 members largely controlled by the Majority. They have 15 members, we're 10. We sit and we have deliberations. We're going to vote on the matter … and the majority should carry the day".

Meanwhile, a circuit court in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, has ordered that some assets of Menzgold be auctioned following a writ of fi.fa filed by one Henry Darko.

Read also: Menzgold: Angry customer petitions Prez Akufo-Addo amid claims NAM1 relocates to SA

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