Opinions of Thu, 10 Jan 201916

How Menzgold CEO swindled millions from investors

On April 2018, a slew of cameramen, drummers and dancers flocked to the once-invincible Menzgold CEO after stepping off his private jet that had just landed in Kumasi. It was all hugs and laughter as everyone swarmed around the 34-year-old handsome exec and his six (yes, six) bodyguards. A sense of pride beamed off his million-dollar smile as he shook hands and posed for pictures. The sky was the limit for him – or so he thought.

Nine months later, Nana Appiah Mensah is on the run from authorities. Sources believe he’s fled the country and is in hiding shortly after protests erupted from his customers who have invested millions in his “bullion investment, gold trading platform.”

After initial reports from the Bank of Ghana and the SEC were released admonishing the business’ practices, panicked investors began berating the company, claiming that they were unable to retrieve their assets. Since then, the Circuit Court has issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicions of defrauding by false pretences and money laundering.

But before his business spiralled out of control and crashed, Appiah Mensah gained traction with thousands who admired his outspoken remarks and charismatic charm. Even as rumours swirled about the potential collapse of his business, he continued to share lavish photos of him lounging in luxury cars and private jets. Suddenly, Menzgold signboards sprouted throughout town using attractive models to help sell his services.

It’s no wonder he lured the likes of many, who possibly saw themselves – even for a moment – living similarly to his larger-than-life lifestyle. On Menzgold’s website, Appiah Mensah lured investors in by offering a 10% monthly return on investment and claims it “has produced an unblemished 100% records since its inception.”

Appiah Mensah’s image only heightened when photos online surfaced of him with politicians like President Nana Akufo-Addo and dancehall phenomenon Shatta Wale. Scores of other public figures (Okyeame Kwame, Jackie Appiah, Okyeame Kwame among others) began endorsing and supporting his business online.

But behind the scenes, trouble was brewing. Problems arose in 2014 when the Bank of Ghana discovered that Menzgold was running a microfinance operation and was illegally using the name “bank.”

In 2016, BoG publicly issued a warning requesting the public to discontinue business practices with the company, which was called “Menzbanc.”

Then late last year, the central bank furnished another warning, this time after findings from the Minerals Commission that Menzgold was soliciting the general public with interest rates on gold between 7%-10%.

On Twitter, Appiah Mensah attempted to unruffled feathers by urging “all Menzgold clients to kindly remain calm, as we prepare to COMPLETELY SETTLE all entitlements of any magnitude soon. We've got brands & names to protect. Self-restraint now is critical to maintain public peace & order. All is well,” he tweeted in October last year.

Even in the midst of what appeared to be a financial crisis within the company, celebrities supported Menzgold, including actress Benedicta Gafah, who said in a video posted on YouTube: “I would like to urge all customers and clients dealing with Menzgold to remain calm and that everything is under control. Your gold deposits remain safe and secured.”

Just as it seemed as if his empire was about to fall, a cool and collected Appiah Mensah phoned in on a radio show on Zylofon Media (a media conglomerate the CEO also owns), speaking out against the allegations.

“I am not worried one bit. I am not perturbed one bit. Because by the grace of God I cannot be broken,” he said in an August 31 interview.

Sure, maybe he wasn’t worried. But what about the thousands who feel duped after failed attempts to retrieve their investments? Up until the time of this writing, customers have yet to receive their hard-earned investments.

He continued: “The road to freedom is rough and ragged. But we are prepared to travel.”

Only time will tell if he’ll ever reach the end of his road to freedom, or if he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars for a large chunk of the remainder of his life.

Columnist: Zaina Adamu

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