General News of Mon, 13 Aug 201828

Menzgold can't sell gold locally - Minerals Commission

It has emerged that the Minerals Commission, in a letter dated 19 September 2017, warned Menzgold Company Limited, owned by Nana Appiah Mensah, to stop selling gold to unauthorised and unlicensed persons in the manner in which the gold-buying and selling company currently does.

In that same letter, the Minerals Commission gave Mnezgold a 10-day ultimatum to correct the “misrepresentations” the company had given the public vis-à-vis its operations.

According to that letter, Menzgold misinterpreted, and, therefore, misapplied the purpose of the licence granted it by selling gold to the unlicensed gold-buying public.

“Menzgold sought to interpret its right to buy and export gold as including the right to sell the gold locally, as well as internationally.

“The Commission held that the Licence only entitled Menzgold to buy from authorised persons and to export same.

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“The Commission further determined that if even the company seeks to sell the gold locally, it could only sell to persons who are licensed to buy gold.

“Therefore, the company’s programme which involves the sale of gold to the general public (who do not have a licence to buy gold) is inconsistent with its licence”, the letter added.

The Minerals Commission, thus, said: “In the light of the forgoing, Menzgold is advised to desist from any business activity that involves the sale of gold to unauthorised persons. Additionally, the company is advised to correct the misrepresentations in the media regarding its Licence within 10 days of the date [19 September 2017] of this letter”.

Menzgold recently insisted that it has the licence to operate in the manner it does and denied claims by the Managing Director of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), Mr Opare Hammond that it is not licensed to do so, saying the PMMC MD’s comment, amounts to “economic defamation” and “undermining” of its reputation.

The company’s lawyer, Kwame Akuffo, said on Thursday, 9 August 2018 that contrary to Mr Opare Hammond’s claim, the firm was duly licensed to carry out its gold-buying and selling business.

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Mr Hammond had told Accra-based Joy FM that: “The Minerals Commission would usually give you the licence and there is a small clause that says: ‘You buy gold for export’, and I don’t know if that is what they [Menzgold] are relying on to do this. If that is what they are relying on, then they are doing the wrong thing. One is supposed to buy and package the raw gold before exporting it”.

However, Mr Akuffo told Accra-based Starr FM on Thursday that the Association of Gold Exporters of Ghana took up an arbitration against the Bank of Ghana and the PMMC and it was “held that the parties have agreed that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources shall then nominate the PMMC as the government’s independent at-sale-laboratory. So, immediately this occurred in 2015, there was no need to renew the licence with the PMMC”.

“Subsequently, we moved on to the Minerals Commission to obtain an export licence. There has never been a singular instance, or a plural instance or multiple instances where the PMMC revoked the licence of Menzgold or MenzBank Ghana Limited. It’s never occurred.

“So when Mr Opare Hammond does so, he’s engaged in economic defamation, he’s engaged in undermining the integrity and reputation of Menzgold”, Mr Akuffo Added.

He advised the PMMC MD to stick to the dictates of his office, saying, “He oversteps the boundaries of the jurisdiction allotted to him by his office. He is not the public relations officer of the Minerals Commission. He is responsible for the conducts of staff and the regulations of the PMMC.”

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A few days ago, the management of Menzgold assured the general public that doing business with the company is safe, despite a warning from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to the contrary.

The BoG on Tuesday, 7 August 2018, issued its fourth public notice that it is in discussions with relevant regulatory authorities to sanction Menzgold Company Limited for engaging in “solicitation, receipt of money or investment and the payment of dividends or returns to its clients” even though it does not have a licence to do so.

The BoG, in a public notice signed by Mrs Caroline Otoo, Secretary to Governor Dr Ernest Addison, said in spite of several cautions to Menzgold Ghana Company Limited to desist from the act, it persists in its deposit-taking activity in breach of section 6(1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).

The central bank cautioned the general public that anyone who transacts “any of the above-mentioned businesses with Menzgold Ghana Company Limited does so at his or her own risk”, adding that the Bank of Ghana will not be liable in the event of loss of investments of deposits.

But Menzgold in a statement described the BoG’s announcement as “unfortunate and disparaging” and insisted it neither takes deposits from customers nor does any deposit-taking business in Ghana.

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“Our activities are not within the scope of the Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions, Act, 2016, Act 930. It, therefore, cannot be said that we are in breach of the Act,” the statement said.

Las week Wednesday, barely a day after the BoG warning, there were reports that the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) had sent an invitation to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah.

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