Nana Appiah Mensah, the founder of the now-defunct Menzgold company, appeared before the High Court on Tuesday, September 19, as he faces allegations of defrauding more than 16,000 individuals of GH¢1.6 billion. Nana Appiah Mensah, commonly known as NAM 1, firmly denied any wrongdoing, particularly the accusation of operating an illegal gold deposit-taking business that circumvented Ghanaian laws.
Mensah’s defense counsel, Kwame Akuffo, presented an argument during the proceedings, asserting that his client had not violated the Banking and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act of 2016 (Act 930), as claimed by the prosecution. Instead, Akuffo made a startling revelation that officials from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had advised Mensah to alter the name of his company from Menzbank to Menzbanc.
Furthermore, the BoG allegedly suggested the establishment of a separate entity, Brew Marketing Consult, to maintain a clear distinction between the gold marketing business and Menzgold’s primary operations.
“Indeed, in meetings with the BoG, it was the BoG that recommended that a third accused company ( Brew Marketing Consult) be set up in order to ensure that the gold marketing business was kept distinct from the business of Menzgold,” counsel said, reports Graphic Online’s Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson from the court.
Mr Akuffo said he would not mention the names of the BoG officials who gave the advice to his client, but at the appropriate time during the trial, he would subpoena them to testify to aid the defence of his client.
“I will skip the names because the court may take evidence from them in camera,” counsel said.
Meanwhile, NAM 1 has pleaded not guilty to 39 counts, ranging from violating Act 930, defrauding by false pretence, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering.
The court, presided over by Dr Ernest Owusu-Dapaa, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, sitting as an additional High Court judge, admitted NAM 1 to bail in the sum of GH¢500million, with four sureties.
As part of the bail conditions, Justice Owusu-Dapaa, also ordered NAM 1 to deposit his passport with the Registrar of the Court, and also report to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) every Thursday.