The Minority spokesperson on Finance is breathing fire and brimstone at government accusing it of failing to deal with the Menzgold fiasco.
Cassiel Ato Forson said government cannot continue to play the passive observers role while customers of Menzgold threaten chaos in search for the monies they have invested.
He told Joy News government has a responsibility to confiscate the assets of Menzgold and see to it that officials of the gold investment dealers are dealt with.
“I strong believe that government has a responsibility to intervene. I strongly believe that government’s attitude of I don’t care is not good enough because government should intervene into ensuring that at least at the minimum, the assets of the owners of Menzgold are confiscated, sell them and defray the debt with it.
“Government cannot assume that the guy can commit a crime like this and go away. It is only the government that has the power of the state to be able to use the police, the military, Interpol to ensure the assets are confiscated,” he said.
His comments come on a day when customers of Menzgold attempted block portions of the N1 Highway as they besieged the Dzorwulu office of Menzgold demanding the payment of their principals.
Police Superintendent Kwasi Ofori described the action by the customers as an attempt “at mass suicide.”
According to him the customers rushed onto the N1 Highway in protest. But for the swift intervention of the police personnel who stopped the speeding oncoming vehicles, the story would have been different.
Menzgold which began as Menzbank started operations some five years ago.
“Our bullion investment ( gold trading) platform that offers ten percent (10%) monthly return on investment (ROI) has produced an unblemished 100% records since its inception last year; being exceedingly successful, offering individuals a sure alternative source of income amidst this current global economic ills. Customers leave our premises always satisfied and very delighted with the excellent customer services offered and the ten percent (10%) dividend they receive,” the company said on its website.
However, in 2014 the Bank of Ghana first warned the company to stop taking deposits. It refused and had as many clients still investing in the business with the promise of receiving 10% interest monthly, far higher than the interest the commercial Banks give to customers.
When the NPP assumed office, the Bank of Ghana, as well as the Security and Exchange Commission, escalated its supervisory activities over Menzgold describing its activities as illegal.
But the gold dealership firm insisted it was on the right path and challenged both the Bank of Ghana and SEC of trying to collapse its business.
It appointed lawyers, including Kwame Akuffo, and other PR professionals all of whom took on the government as well as BoG and SEC.
Both institutions stood its grounds warning customers not to put their monies into what was clearly an illegal business venture.
Some of the customers turned their anger against the government, the BoG and SEC accusing them of being jealous of the wealth being created by Menzgold.
In September 2018, SEC wrote to Menzgold warning it to shutdown its operations that had to do with deposit-taking, a decision that broke the camel’s back.
Menzgold has since been struggling to pay the principal amounts of its investors.
Several promises to pay have been broken, deadlines exceeded with no hope at all about when the investors will receive their principal amounts.
In what is deemed to be an attempt to file for bankruptcy, the company asked its workers to go home claiming there is an attempt on their lives by the angry workers.
The demonstrations by the customers are yet to cease as angry customers in Accra and Kumasi have threatened to take over properties of the company.
In the latest of such demonstrations, the customers besieged the Dzorwulu branch of Menzgold in Accra, weeping and raining curses at Menzgold and the government.
Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah said the customers must take responsibility for their actions.
“The government warned those who put their monies there. The government warned them. As late February 2017, Menzgold came to the Finance Committee and we told them what they were doing was illegal. At that point if anyone wanted to take their funds they would have been able to do so,” he said.
He added the customers were “crying over spilt milk.”
But Ato Forson insists government is being irresponsible.
He said the fact that the government warned customers not to invest in Menzgold is not enough.
“Government is running away from their responsibility and that is a shame,” he stated, adding, “government’s attitude is nothing but a failure Government has failed.”