It is a notable thing to find men of nobility, royalty, and power adorn their names with the symbol “1” in Ghana. The symbol “1” connotes superiority, authority, uniqueness but in most cases in Ghana, it comes with that modest way of saying I’m a lot better than you all. In kingship, it’s pronounced “the first”; Otumfour Osei Tutu 1(the first), Osagyefour Kuntunkununku 1(the first) etc. and many other casual pseudonyms such as chairman 1, Shatta 1, Okese 1, Nana 1 etc.
There are many of such names in typical Ghanaian settings ending with 1 and then there’s the household name NAM 1.
Prior to him becoming an embattled CEO, every Ghanaian who knew him then can testify of his opulence, extravagance, power and a supposed business acumen. Like Stan LEE, Nana Appiah MENSAH assembled his own avengers of business and celebrities. His record label, Zylofon Music, was the most sought after music label in the country. He had the Already and Nominate hit makers, Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy, respectively, under his label watch. He had it all figured out; he got more prominent persons in the country talking about him than they would.
The $1,500,000 signing bonuses, the private jets, the mansions and BET Africa partnerships. NAM 1 for a moment, seemed like a savior, one who had come to not only revive an otherwise defunct entertainment industry but also liberate many economically. If you had the money to invest in his aurum italium Menzgold business, you’d love him to heels, because, what’s better than a 12 percent per month returns on your money? NADA! But the devil definitely wears PRADA.
In 2018 the Security and Exchange Commision (SEC) directed Menzgold to cease its gold trading operation. In a communique, the SEC further explained that the directive was based on the ‘fact’ that Menzgold had been dealing in the purchase and deposit of gold collectibles from the public and issuing contracts with guaranteed returns to clients without a valid license from the Commission.
According to the SEC, Menzgold modus operandi then was in direct contravention of “Section 109 of Act 929 with consequences under Section 2016 (I) of the same Act.”
Nevertheless, the company was allowed to continue its “other” businesses of assaying, purchasing gold from small-scale miners and export of gold.
In the last quarter of 2018, a supposed calm that was purported to have been restored, pending payment of customers of turned out to be a façade as Menzgold was unable to pay out owed dividends.
In a communique from BoG, it had highlighted that “on October 28, 2014, Bank of Ghana discovered, in a special exercise within the Central Region, that Menzbank was operating microfinance in Kasoa under the guise of gold trading and illegally using the name “Bank”.
Again, On March 11, 2015 BoG “issued notice number BG/GOV/SEC/2015/04 publishing a list of unlicensed entities operating illegally, including Menzbank. Menzbank then changed its name to “Menzbanc Ghana Company Limited”.
Following the 2015 notice and the refusal of the company to desist from its illegal activities, on April 13, 2016, BoG issued a notice to warn the general public against the deposit-taking operations of Menzbanc.
The Central Bank in a letter, wrote to Menzbanc cautioning it against its unlicensed deposit-taking activity on July 2016.
On August 2, 2016, official reports say, BoG invited the management of Menzbanc to a meeting on its unlicensed deposit-taking activity.
“The company responded in writing on August 3, 2016 and claimed that they were not engaging in deposit-taking activities.”
To add to that, on August 16, 2016, BOG contacted Minerals Commission and Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) on the licence status of Menzbanc. Minerals Commission confirmed that the company had a licence only “to purchase gold locally… and to export same”. However its licence with PMMC had expired.
Accordingly, on February 13, 2017, BoG held another meeting with representatives of the company.
On July 19, 2017, BoG reportedly issued another caution letter to the company to desist from taking further deposits.
“Menzbanc then changed its name to Menzgold. It also informed the BOG of its subsidiary by name “Brew Marketing Limited” where clients were directed to go and purchase the gold and deposit it with Menzgold for “dividend”.
In subsequent investigations conducted by BoG, it became apparent that the activities of Menzgold amounted to, among other things, “engaging in illegal deposit-taking contrary to section 6(1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).”
It added that its activities also amounted to “engaging in unlicensed mineral activity contrary to section 99(1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2003 (Act 703), engaging in illegal capital markets activity in breach of section 109 of the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929), and a private company inviting the public to deposit money or invest in its business in breach of section 265 of the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) and section 207 of Act 929.”
AUDACIOUS OR GULLIBILTY OF GHANAIANS
Nana Appiah Mensah is either a very audacious entrepreneur, one without fear of God or what he really thinks of Ghanaians is that they the most gullible people in the world, and both assertions could be true.
You’d recall that, BoG issued a notice to warn the general public against the deposit-taking operations of Menzgold and cautioned them of wrongdoing. What happened after that probably comes closer to affirming both assertions.
In a response tweet, he said “TODAY’S JOKE: Bank of Ghana, so now you dey do propaganda? I beg paa “Tell Ghanaians exactly what happened with the 5 or so collapsed banks you duly LICENSED & SUPERVISED for years. Please don’t attempt to use our dear Menzgold to cover up. I beg make we think!”
Many Ghanaians, celebrities inclusive took to social media to defend and castigate NAM1 and BoG respectively. For the many who were reaping from the tree of MenzLife, BoG’s trumpeted directive and any other doctrine whatsoever aimed against Nam1’s Menzgold was deemed blasphemous. It was paying after all, so how dare you speak against it. Ponzi scheme or not, it was a savior to many and many were relentless in that pursuit. Even after its collapsed, many who were still in denial, blamed the government and BoG of sabotage.
The SMART CITY, if patronized or not would bare the gullibility of Ghanaians but let’s not pretend we didn’t witness Menzgold transitioned from Menzbank to Menzbanc to Menzgold and still went ahead to patronize.
It is clear that there will still be several peoplewho may patronize his new venture and that alone brings up a very big question; will he get celebrities to endorse this new “imaginary” project?
SOCIAL MEDIA HAS REACTED…but we leave the rest to you to figure out.