The Member of Parliament for Yapei/Kusawgu, John Jinapor, has expressed dissatisfaction with Ghana’s finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta, over what he sees as economic mismanagement.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, February 16, 2023, after the finance minister briefed Members of Parliament on the debt exchange programme, the legislator said that the minister’s decision to factor some individual bondholders into the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) is of no difference with Nana Appiah Mensah popularly known as Nam1’s Menzgold Ponzi scheme that hit the country some years ago.
He contends that DDEP being led by the finance minister is not only offensive to bondholders but also unfavourable for those who own government bonds and also that the programme was diminishing confidence in the financial sector.
“If you digest all these, the most important thing the finance minister has told the people of Ghana is very simple. If you evaluate what he is doing, and evaluate what NAM 1 of Menzgold did, the two are synonymous and the same. There is no difference”, he said.
Government warned that the nation’s economy would collapse without the debt exchange programme. The programme was put in place as a key conditionality to make its debts sustainable and to get Board Approval for a US$3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
Background of Menzgold Ghana Limited
Menzgold Ghana Limited was a Ghanaian gold dealership and investment firm that promised customers an average of 7-10 percent monthly returns on investments. It was founded by Nana Appiah Mensah.
The firm is reported to have initially traded as Menzbank; then changed to Menzbanc and then finally to Menzgold, due to warnings from the Bank of Ghana about the use of ‘bank’ as a company name for a non-banking entity.
Its operations were shut down in September 2018 by the Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s operating license which had initially been granted in 2014, was revoked by the Minerals Commission of Ghana.
However, as reports of a gold-investment scheme with high returns started to circulate, the Bank of Ghana began to publish warnings that cautioned citizens to be wary of dealing with the firm and warned the firm against taking cash deposits.
Customers’ deposits at Menzgold have been locked out since the shutdown with lack of access to their investments leading to demonstrations at its various branches. In January 2019, the Economic and Organised Crime Office of Ghana secured a court order to freeze all landed properties and vehicles belonging to the embattled Chief Executive Officer of Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah.
The landed properties include Menzgold Ghana Limited, Menzgold Office Complex, Zylofon Art Complex, Brew Marketing Consult, Star Mad. Football Club, Zylofon Music and Media Company Limited, Brew Energy Company Limited, and G. Tech Automobile Service. Nana Appiah Mensah who later went to Dubai to claim some of his money to pay his customers was arrested and sued by a Dubai-based company called Horizon Royal Diamond.
On Wednesday, January 8 2020 some aggrieved customers of Menzgold Ghana Limited massed up at the residence of Nana Appiah Mensah to discuss payments of their locked-up funds. Nana Appiah Mensah fired shots to ward off his angry customers because he felt threatened by their raucous presence.