The lawyer for customers of the now-defunct gold-trading company Menzgold, Amanda Clinton, has announced her intentions to file a civil suit against the state over her clients’ locked-up funds.
Ms Clinton threatened to sue the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Minerals Commission as well as the Attorney General’s department next month.
In a lengthy letter signed by Ms Clinton dated Thursday, 22 October 2020, she indicated that the Menzgold issue is of public interest because most Ghanaians are affected, hence it should have been closed down long ago.
Parts of the document stated: “The Menzgold matter though deeply unfortunate and preventable, may be an opportunity for Ghana to define in court the extent to which government institutions owe a specific class of investors a duty of care if the State fails to intervene in terms of shutting down a white-collar criminal enterprise at the earliest possible opportunity instead of much later, when most clients invested from 2017 onwards.
“By beginning to define where one institution’s duty begins and another one ends, we may in future be able to ensure the public as well as agencies are more versed in understanding and preventing the actions of those who employ long-term and not short-term strategies to defraud in the unregulated financial sector.
“For the regulators exist more so to detect, apprehend and penalise entities that are unregulated so as to prevent them from causing mass financial loss to the general public, the longer the illegal operations go on,” it read.
The letter continued: “Our position is that public interest far outweighs the State’s interest in not paying out to unregulated financial companies. This is because the State’s inaction in not shutting down Menzgold and Brew Marketing much earlier (even within the first year) meant that more and more investors were able to deposit their monies with Menzgold and Brew Marketing which lead to an unprecedented financial loss to the general public,” it stressed.
Ms Clinton further outlined some pitfalls of the state regulatory bodies for lack of proper due diligence among others.
She explained that Menzgold customers have not been able to access and retrieve their invested funds when the SEC suspended the operations of the company owned by Nana Appiah Mensah on 7 September 2018.
The customers have embarked on several protests and demonstrations ever since to get the government to intervene, but to no avail.
However, the government has begun processes to pay customers of collapsed and insolvent financial institutions as a result of the banking sector clean-up.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama, has promised to investigate the Menzgold scandal if elected president in the December 7, 2020, general elections.
Addressing NDC supporters in Tarkwa at the launch the party’s campaign in the Tarkwa Nsuaem constituency on Tuesday, 20 October 2020, Mr Mahama said the next NDC government will use all legitimate means to retrieve the locked-up funds of Menzgold customers.
He was concerned that the government has made no significant effort to retrieve the customers’ money.
“What is so special about NAM 1 that Akufo-Addo is shielding him?
“Why do you unleash the police on innocent customers while NAM1 walks free?” he fumed.