From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani .
The Chairman of a group called Brong-Ahafo DKM Victims Investment Association, Nana Nyarko, has revealed that a total of about 60 people who lost their investments to the defunct savings and loans company, DKM, have reportedly committed suicide after failed attempts to retrieve their monies.
Nana Nyarko told TV3 that all attempts made by the association to help retrieve their investments proved futile, and that had led many to the suicides.
“Many have lost their lives, while others have lost their jobs and serving prison terms due to moneys they borrowed for their businesses,” Mr. Nyarko said in an interview monitored by The Chronicle.
According to him, most of them are yet to be paid by the government, contrary to claims by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, that 80% of all those who lost their investments to DKM have been paid.
Mr. Nyarko said that the Finance Minister’s claims cannot be true, because they are just about petitioning the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on the matter.
“We are almost done with our petition to the President. The 80% payment the Finance Minister said has been made is not factual,” he said.
The Chairman, therefore, called on the President to call the Finance Minister to check his records well or engage depositors to assess the situation.
Mr. Nyarko also noted that depositors of DKM will have no option than to act to register their displeasure to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, just like they did to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) when they were in power.
In sharp contrast, some customers of the defunct DKM Microfinance Limited have confirmed claims by the government that they have been paid a chunk of their investments that got locked up in the financial institution. Alexander Obeng, Spokesperson for the affected customers, said on Accra100.5FM that although there still remains a backlog to be cleared, the government has paid a huge portion of their investments.
“Under the previous NDC government, the liquidator paid everybody GH¢3,500 across the board, irrespective of the amount a victim had invested with the firm. When the NPP took over, the liquidator raised the amount from GH¢3,500 to GH¢10,000,” he said.
He added: “So, it is true as the Finance Minister said yesterday in Parliament that some of the monies have been paid. We, however, want the government to also pay the customers of the other companies. The issue is not only about DKM.”
Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament, when he delivered the 2019 budget on Thursday, 15 November, that in addition to the clean-up exercise undertaken in the banking sector by the Bank of Ghana, the government had also taken steps to settle almost all claims of DKM customers.
“Mr Speaker, you would recall that DKM Diamond Microfinance Limited had its license revoked in February 2016 with considerable suffering imposed on depositors, without any meaningful response from the previous government. That has significantly changed,” he said.
He also said: “The official liquidator received 99,858 claims, and the validated claims amounted to GH¢502 million. I would like to inform the country that out of the 99,858 claims, 79,708 (80 per cent) have been settled and depositors have been paid.”
He added that “the government has set aside funds at the Bank of Ghana to pay the remaining 20 per cent of depositors upon validation. An additional 12,612 claims have been fully provided for, but the customers have not as yet been able to show proof of deposit.”
In a related development, customers of four defunct microfinance institutions – Little Drops Financial Services, God is Love Fun Club, Jaster Motors and Investment Limited, and Care for Humanity Fun Club – all in the Brong-Ahafo Region, have pleaded with the government to also pay them their locked-up investments, just as has been done for their colleagues who invested with DKM Microfinance Limited.
The spokesperson for the victims of Jaster Motors and the three others, Hannan Ayiwa, said: “We also have our monies locked up, and we plead with the government to pay us, too, just as they are doing for DKM customers.”