Business News of 2014-01-29

Lord Winners Microfinance swindles over 5,000 customers

There is anxiety, panic and pain among over 5,000 customers of the Lord Winners Microfinance Company over the prospect of losing their deposits running into thousands of cedis.

The company, which has been operating for over five years, has for some time now locked up its offices with their directors and staff gone underground.

With the headquarters located at Suame in Kumasi and branches dotted across Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra and Western regions, it engaged primarily in “susu” collection, savings and loans as well as vehicle asset financing.

Some of the frustrated customers called at the Kumasi office of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to express fears of having been swindled.

Mr. Blankson Donkor, whose passbook with account number: “ADD10110119041000141”, showed a credit of GH¢61,200.00 said “I am shattered”.

He had been wooed to deposit the money with the company with an “oversized expectation” of earning some good interest but that was not to be.

He said “it has been a difficult moment for me. I cannot imagine losing my life savings when my kids are young and in school.”

Another customer, Mr. Ernest Ababio Duah, said he started doing business with the company on January 2012, with his deposit standing at GH¢6,000.00.

Visibly emotional, he said, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) should share in the blame for what had happened because it had failed to give adequate protection to the people.

He said there was the need to ensure that the activities of the microfinance companies were properly regulated.

Mrs Ruth Ampah, a Director of the company in a phone interview said they were forced to shut down by en masse panic withdrawals.

She added that, there were threats to hurt some of the workers and invocation of curses on them by some of their customers.

She said there had been instances where some aggrieved customers had gone to some of their offices with eggs to invoke powerful deities to visit punishment on the managers and staff.

She said they never sought to cheat or dupe anybody and that they were doing everything to pay back customers deposits.

Mrs Ampah confessed that it had been really traumatic, the pressure had been unbearable and that she had gone into hiding.

Formal reports had been made to the police by many of the victims.

Source: GNA
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