Justice Ernest Owusu Ernest the judge hearing the case in which the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold Ghana Limited has warned Nana Appiah Mensah aka NAM1 over absence of his lawyers.
According to the trial judge, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Coirt judge, it would be the “last time,” the court will adjourn the case in the absence of his lawyers.
NAM1 who made his second appearance at the High Court after pleading not guilty to 39 counts on September 19, came to court without his lawyers.
Asked by the Court where his lawyers led by Kwame Akuffo Boafo were, he said “I just had a word from his office that he had an emergency this morning and he respectfully asked me to prayed the court for an adjournment.”
NAM1 also did not have any proof of the “emergency” issue his lawyer had while standing in the docket to address the judge.
Justice Owusu-Dapaah after listening to NAM1 said, “This is the last time we Will adjourn when your lawyer is not here.”
The Court said, there are three accused persons involved and if he (Kwame Boafo Akuffo) could not come in person, he can send other lawyers to appear in Court.
The Court also seized the moment to school NAM1 who was addressing the Justice of the Court of Appeal as “Your Honour”.
“If you go to the Circuit Court, you say Your Honour, but if you come to the High Court you say My Lord- Judge educated NAM1 NAM1*
Meanwhile, the Prosecution led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa prayed the court for a two week adjournment to enable them complete their processes to file their disclosures and Witness Statements.
She told the court that, “Our witness statements are almost ready but we are waiting for some of them to come and sign.”
She said, ordinarily they would have filed what was ready but thought it wise file all together in a well organized fashion.
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, scores of aggrieved Menzgold Customers and their leadership stormed the court in huge numbers filling the courtroom to full capacity.
The case has been adjourned to November 17, 2023.
The embattled CEO of defunct Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah popularly known as (NAM1) was on September 19 granted bail in the sum of GHc500 million.
NAM1 who pleaded not guilty to 39 counts of fresh charges is also to produce four sureties without justification.
The bail terms granted him by the Financial Division of the Accra High Court presided over Justice Earnest Owusu Dapaah, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge also include an order for him to deposit his passport at the Registry of the Court and report to the CID headquarters every Thursday.
The 39 counts comprised of a count each of selling gold contrary to section 99 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703, Operating a deposit-taking business without a license contrary to section (1) and 22 (1) of the Banking and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) and Inducement to invest contrary to section 344 of the Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992),
The others include 22 counts of Defrauding by false pretense contrary to section 131 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), seven counts of fraudulent breach of trust contrary to section 128 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and seven counts if Money Laundering contrary to section 1(2)(a)(i) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044).
Per the brief fact states that, the 2nd accused person (A2), Menzgold Ghana Limited and the 3rd accused person (A3), Brew Marketing Consult Limited, are sister companies owned by the 1st accused person (A1), Nana Appiah Mensah alias NAM1.
It added that, Menzgold was first registered as Menzbank Ghana Company Limited in 2013 whereas Brew Marketing Comsult Limited was registered in December 2016.
It said, NAM1 is a director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult and also majority shareholder of both companies.
It stated that NAM1 operated Menzgold as a deposit-taking business under the guise of gold trading, without the requisite licence.
BoG public notice
According to the Prosecution, on March 11, 2015, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) issued a public notice to the effect that Menzbank was an unlicensed deposit- taking institution.
It said, NAM1, in a bid to circumvent the notice of BoG, changed the company’s name from Menzbank to Menzbanc.
It explained that, sometime in 2017, NAM1 further changed the company’s name from Menzbank to Menzgold Ghana Company
The facts states that, the business module of NAM1 was that Brew Marketing Consult sold gold/gold collectibles/ gold dore to
the public for the purpose of investing same in Menzgold, when Brew Marketing Consult did not have a licence to sell gold.
Breach of restrictions
The Prosecution stated that, on August 22, 2016, the Minerals Commission, granted Menzgold a-three-year licence to purchase and export gold.
It said, the terms of the licence stipulated that Brew Marketing Consult was to purchase gold from small-scale miners for export only.
The brief facts stated that, Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult breached its restricted gold purchase and exportation licence by selling gold to persons in Ghana.
It said, in 2016, NAM1 and Menzgold established what they called gold vault market which provided the public with a platform to trade in gold and gold collectibles.
It added that, NAM1 and Menzgold, in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of the law, set up Brew Marketing Consult for the purposes of selling gold to the public to enable A2 to take the gold deposits.
The Prosecution stated that, between 2017 and 2018, NAM1 and Menzgold invited members of the public to purchase gold and gold collectibles from Brew Marketing Consult and deposit same with Menzgold.
It explained that, in various forms of invitations, the accused persons representing Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult as deposit-taking businesses, invited the members of the public to deposit purchased gold and gold collectibles with Menzgold in return for profits ranging from 7% to 10%.
Over 16, 000 complainants
It said, in response to this invitation, over 16,000 members of the public deposited huge sums of money with the expectation that they were dealing with an authorised deposit- taking business which would guarantee them the returns as advertised by the accused persons.
It said, Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult, continued with their operations despite several engagements and warning notices issued by the relevant agencies.
The Prosecution stated that, subsequently, members of the public started facing challenges either with delayed payments or reduced dividends; anumber of cheques issued by NAM1 and Menzgold were also dishonoured.
It said, on September 7, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directed Menzgold to suspend its business for operating without a licence from the SEC.
It said, between November 2016 and March 2019, many customers of the accused persons petitioned the police complaining that they had invested huge sums of money with the accused persons but were unable to realise their investments after persistent efforts by them.
The prosecution stated that, investigations revealed that the accused persons under false pretences took a total sum of One billion, sixty hundred and eighty million, nine hundred and twenty thousand Ghana cedis (GH$1,680,920,000) from their customers which these customers have not recovered.
“Investigations further disclosed that between 2017 and 2018, the accused persons transferred huge sums of depositor’s funds from Menzgold Ghana Company Ltd. and Brew Marketing Consult Ltd to Zylofon Media, a company related to Al.
“Huge sums of money were also withdrawn by Al or transferred into his bank account for his personal use.
“Investigations have established that
the money fraudulently obtained from depositors and dishonestly appropriated by the accused persons remained
unpaid as Menzgold Ghana Company Ltd.’s licence was revoked.
“In the course of investigations, a number of vehicles were recovered from the accused personswhich have been auctioned, and the proceeds kept in an exhibit account. Some gold bars were also recovered from the accused persons,” the brief facts stated.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Murtala Inusah