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Blame govt for Menzgold woes – NDC

chronicle January 16, 2019

The largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is blaming the Akufo-Addo government for causing the current brouhaha of gold trading company, Menzgold.

Addressing the second edition of the party’s Moment of Truth series held at its headquarters, the National Communications Officer for the party, Sammy Gyamfi indicated that the government could not bring the company down and turn to exhibit ignorance.

According to him, the party, after carefully analysing the facts of this Menzgold saga,
“have come to the inevitable conclusion that Government is responsible for the present woes of Menzgold customers. The Akufo-Addo government is complicit! Therefore, Government cannot feign ignorance of the events that have led us to where we are today in a desperate attempt to shirk its responsibility of ensuring that Menzgold customers are paid back their investments. The attempt by Government to parry legitimate concerns of Menzgold customers
and to taunt political opponents who are calling for the right thing to be done is most
unfortunate and will not stand.”

Cementing his accusation, Sammy Gyamfi indicated that, the many overt acts of endorsement and advertisement of Menzgold and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nana Appiah Mensah (NAM1), by the President and his Government is played a vital role in the events that have unfolded.

He could not doubt that, “the open endorsement of NAM1 and Menzgold by this government greatly enhanced the
credibility and legitimacy of Menzgold in the eyes of the public and encouraged many people to invest with the company,” even after the Bank of Ghana had cautioned against the activities of the company.

The party has also alleged that Menzgold boss sponsored the 2016 campaign of the New Patriotic Party that brought President Akufo-Addo to office.

The nine-paged statement read by the National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi catelogued what he described as evidence of a state led endorsement and promotion of the company. Read that portion below.

EVIDENCE OF STATE-LED ENDORSEMENT AND PROMOTION OF MENZGOLD
AND NAM1

A) Ladies and gentlemen, although Government knew that Menzgold and its CEO were engaged in illegal business, the Akufo-Addo Government acknowledged Nana Appiah Mensah as a genuine businessman and continually honoured him for same. On Saturday, August 26th,
2017, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Ghana (EFG) at its Ghana Business Quality Awards organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, bestowed on Menzgold a Quality Business Award. In other words, the Ministry of Finance which is headed by the cousin of the President, Ken Ofori Atta, in collaboration with the EFG awarded Menzgold as one of the best companies in the Gold Assaying & Monumental Coins Industry. Therefore, it is ultimate
hypocrisy for this same Ken Ofori Atta whose Ministry lured innocent citizens to invest in Menzgold, to turn around and insult the grieving customers as “greedy people”. We would like to inform Ken Ofori Atta, that he is by far the greediest political figure in Ghana today, and lacks the moral high ground to label any citizen of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana as greedy. If greed was ever a human being, his name will be Ken Ofori Atta.

B) Also, in spite of the fact that government knew that NAM1 was engaged in illegal business, on 28th April, 2018, at the 8th Ghana Entrepreneurs and Corporate Executives Awards, organized by EFG in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Business Development, Nana Appiah Mensah, CEO of Menzgold, was awarded as the Best
Business Executive for 2017.

C) The NDC cannot also forget the now infamous visit of NAM1 to the Presidency with his close pal and a close confidante of President Akufo-Addo, Kwesi Nyantakyi of Number 12 fame. Government’s claim that NAM1 was included in the said delegation because he had expressed an intention to sponsor the Ghana Football League is an afterthought and a poor attempt at defending the indefensible. The said delegation was made up of CAF and GFA
officials. NAM1 has never been an official of any of these bodies. The mere fact that he had expressed an intention to sponsor Ghana’s Football League did not make him a GFA or CAF official. Ordinarily, he had no business joining the said delegation and President Akufo-Addo also had no business meeting with him. His meeting with the President was completely unjustifiable and a poor exercise of judgement. The outcome of this meeting which was highly publicised for months without correction from the presidency, further deepened confidence inthe activities of Menzgold and wooed unsuspecting Ghanaians to invest or keep their investments with Menzgold.

Ladies and gentlemen – to buttress this point – after meeting President Akufo-Addo, NAM1 took a picture with the President and subsequently shared it on his Facebook wall with the caption, “Mr. President, we owe it all to you”. What did NAM1 mean by this statement?

Obviously, he was ascribing his successes to the President, all in an effort to enhance his legitimacy and validity. Although government knew at all times that NAM1 was engaged in illegal business and was a subject of investigation, Government was not bothered to issue a disclaimer to distance the President from this obvious act of advertisement.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as a result, but unfortunately, when the Regulatory institutions such as Bank of Ghana and SEC were saying no to NAM1, President Akufo-Addo was giving thumbs up to NAM1. Government simply refused to sing from the same hymn page and succeeded in confusing and encouraging unsuspecting Ghanaians to deal with Menzgold.

D) Also, even though he was a subject of investigation and had been pronounced by the central bank as a person engaged in illegal business, the state looked on while NAM1 sponsored the Ghana Football League without any objections. This further enhanced the visibility and legitimacy of NAM1 and his businesses.

E) Additionally, during the national tour of NAM Mission, the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Catherine Afeku after taking inspiration from her boss, President Akufo-Addo’s bad example was seen chaperoning NAM1 throughout the Western Region ostensibly to create tourism awareness. This was another open state endorsement and ministerial advertisement of the beleaguered CEO of Menzgold which enhanced his popularity, legitimacy and credibility.

F) Friends from the media, we would like to submit to you that the wife of President Akufo- Addo and First Lady of the Republic of Ghana also took active part in the endorsement and promotion of the NAM1. In March 2018, her foundation, Rebecca Foundation partnered with NAM Mission, (another company belonging to the beleaguered Menzgold CEO) in connection with a medical outreach program in some parts of the country. It is mind-boggling that among all the humanitarian agencies in Ghana and the world, it was NAM1 the ‘fraudster’ that our First Lady chose to partner with.

G) Again, it is worthy of note that in the last two (2) years, Nana Appiah Mensah has enjoyed full state honours, as we have seen him with armed police escort at public gatherings on countless occasions. Not even Members of Parliament and Ministers of State enjoy the kind of security detail that was accorded NAM1 by this government. Ladies and gentlemen, where in the world can a man declared by the central bank as engaged in illegal business be accorded such elaborate state security and protocol privileges? Need we add that these overt actions of the state propped up NAM1’s acceptability and encouraged more citizens to invest in  Menzgold?

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it was these public acts of endorsement of NAM1 and Menzgold by the President and his appointees that encouraged a lot of innocent citizens to invest with Menzgold. The fact remains that, before the NPP assumed office in 2017, Menzbank and Menzbanc were small schemes and quite unknown. This entity later became

Menzgold with several wings under this Government. As a result of official state enablement, the clientele base of the company grew exponentially within the last two years. Information available to us suggests that the company actually acquired about 90% of its current clientele between 2017-2018 and this fact has been corroborated by the customers and staff of
Menzgold.
Ladies and gentlemen, celebrity endorsement of a particular business or product has a positive correlation with the fortunes of that business. We all recall how in 2009, advertising experts revealed that Barack Obama’s public declaration of affection for his Blackberry phone indirectly provided the Blackberry company with free publicity worth up to £33 million.
President Akufo-Addo and his Government didn’t need to expressly tell Ghanaians to invest in Menzgold. The fact is that, many of the grieving customers of Menzgold invested in the company because of the open endorsement of NAM1 and Menzgold by the Akufo-Addo government. They trusted Menzgold because they trusted the President and his appointees. Therefore, Government cannot absolve itself from responsibility in this matter.

By Maxwell Ofori / www.thechronicle.com.gh

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