The Coalition of Aggrieved Customers of Menzgold (CACM) is calling on the government to set up a Commission of Enquiry, in accordance with Article 278 clause (1) of the 1992 Constitution, to probe the business activities of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Nana Appiah.
According to them, subject to article five (5) of the Constitution, ”the President shall by constitutional instrument, appoint a Commission of Enquiry into any matter of public interest.”
“We, CACM members expect the Commission of Enquiry to demand from Menzgold the overall database of its legitimate customers in all the various branches,” Mr Samuel Odartey, Secretary to the coalition, told a news conference in Accra on Monday, this week.
The enquiry, the aggrieved customers believe, would provide the government with the actual total investment locked up with Menzgold. “We also demand that the investigation team for both the security agencies and the Commission of Enquiry should include the representatives of the customers (preferably CACM leadership) to ensure transparency in handling the whole Menzgold saga,” they argued.
“If government fails to act faster and swiftly on our plights and neglect our call for a Commission of Enquiry, CACM will lead a one million membership demonstration across the country to register our disappointment and zero level of confidence in government, with regard to its doubtful investigations and lackadaisical attitude towards retrieving our locked-up investments in Menzgold, and the general failure of the entire financial system in the country,” Spokesman Mr Odartey added.
Calling for a commission of enquiry into the whole Menzgold saga is no doubt a legitimate call. The Chronicle is, however, against the threat on the government to take certain decisions that may not be deeply rooted in law. As we have previously indicated in this column, the Bank of Ghana (BoG), on more than two occasions, issued a public warning about the activities of Menzgold, but because of the huge profits that he was paying, the customers who are now crying wolf today ignored them.
At a point in time, when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) descended heavily on Menzgold, some of the customers even went on a mini demonstration on the premises of the company against the SEC. Others also went on air to castigate the government for trying to destroy the work of the young CEO of the company, Nana Appiah.
Interestingly, the same customers are today blackmailing the government to use the tax payer’s money to pay them the investments they have made in the defunct company. Indeed, if Nana Appiah and his company were doing legitimate business with the customers’ investments, he would have, at least, managed to pay majority of them.
Since the government has so many projects to execute to alleviate the plight of Ghanaians, there is no way it can raise over GH¢250 million, alleged to be the total investments that have locked up, to pay these private investors. The argument that some of the collapsed banks were owned by private individuals, yet the government went in with money to bail out the banks, does not hold water. The Bank of Ghana has stated umpteen times that the collapsed banks were registered entities, unlike Menzgold, which was not properly registered to run the business it was doing.
We should also not gloss over the fact that the billion of cedis bond issued by the government to bail out the banks was just paper work, and not physical cash doled out to these banks, though we admit that the bond, in the long run, is still money, and, therefore, debts in the books of the government.
But, in the case of the Menzgold, the government would have to look for physical cash to pay these customers at the time the Double-Track system of the free Senior High School programme is biting the government very hard and she desperately needs the money to reverse the trend.
As we argued earlier, if the commission of enquiry is what these private investors are looking for, the government should give it to them, but we completely disagree with the suggestion to the government to dip her hands into public purse and take out money to pay these Menzgold customers.
The government must put its feet down so that in future, people would not fall prey to some of these ponzi scheme operators.