NAM1 granted Gh¢1billion bail

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“Free NAM1”,  “We want our money”, “Release NAM1 to pay us”.


These were some of the chants by some aggrieved customers of defunct Menzgold Ghana Limited who besieged the Accra Circuit Court yesterday to witness the trial of Nana Appiah Mensah, aka NAM1, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.

Some of the customers argued among themselves while others rained curses and insults on NAM1.

Others also  reminisced the good old times of Menzgold and heaped praises on him. But the atmosphere became charged when NAM 1 finally appeared in the courtroom to answer charges of defrauding about 16,000 people of more than GH¢1.6 billion.

As the entertainment icon and businessman made his way into the courtroom in the company of heavily armed policemen, the customers of Menzgold broke into a frenzy, shouting his name and vociferous chants of “Free NAM1 “ and “We want our money”.

It was a trial that checklisted all the attributes of a high-profile national interest case.

Journalists were there in their numbers, security was very tight, and the court premises became a congregational ground for hundreds of people, with those inside the courtroom to witness the trial feeling like VIPS (very important personalities) and those outside cursing their stars.

The trial was action-packed to the extent that in order to secure Mensah after the trial, the police had to ‘smuggle’ him through the judge’s chambers into a waiting car to avoid the surging crowd that waited impatiently for him in front of the courtroom.

GH¢1 billion bail

Wearing a black suit, over a white shirt with a yellow tie, Mensah was businesslike in the courtroom, paid attention to the proceedings but occasionally offered smiles to his lawyer and sympathisers.

The court, presided over by Mrs Jane Harriet Akweley Quaye, granted him bail in the sum of GH¢1 billion, with five sureties.

Per the bail conditions as ordered by the court, three of the sureties must be justified, while NAM 1 must also report himself to the Ghana Police Service every Wednesday.

The GH¢1 billion bail sum was received with surprise by Mensah, his lawyer, Mr Kwame Akuffo, and some of sympathisers, who were in the courtroom.

Mr Akuffo pleaded with the court to reduce the amount but the presiding judge said under the circumstances and the amount on the charge sheet, she had been generous with the bail sum.

Bail application

Making a case for bail, Mr Akuffo argued that his client was not a flight risk, had competent sureties and would always appear before the court to defend himself against the charges levelled against him.

He submitted that his client never absconded from Ghana, but rather went to the United Arab Emirates to recover his $39 million, and that immediately he resolved his legal issues in the UAE, he came back to Ghana and surrendered to the police.

Counsel also prayed the court not to peg the bail term to the amount his client was alleged to have defrauded because the prosecution failed to give the particulars supporting the amount.

According to him, only one complainant was named in the charge sheet, with the 16,000 people also alleged to have been defrauded described as “others”.

“The accused person does not know the other 16,000 complainants but constitutionally he must know his accusers. Also, the court does not know how much the only known complainant invested in the scheme,” he said.

Mr Akuffo further argued that the court should not peg the bail at GH¢1.6 billion because most of his client’s assets had been confiscated by the state.

In response, the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Sylvester Asare, did not oppose the bail application, but prayed the court to set the right conditions in line with the accusations and the amount on the charge sheet.

Not guilty

Prosecutors have accused Mensah, his wife (Rose Tetteh), and his sister (Benedicta Mensah) of being the principal officers of Menzgold, and using the company as a tool to defraud more than 16,000 people of GH¢1,680,920,000.

The three accused, Menzgold and its sister company, Brew Marketing Consult Limited (both represented by NAM 1), have been slapped with 13 counts.

The counts are defrauding by false pretences, abetment to defraud by false pretences, carrying deposit business without licence, abetment of sale of minerals without licence, sale of minerals without licence, abetment to the unlawful deposit-taking, unlawful deposit-taking and money laundering.

Mensah pleaded not guilty to all the charges. His wife and his sister are, however, at large.

Prosecution’s facts

Presenting the facts gathered by the prosecution, ASP Asare said in October 2018, the police received a complaint from about 16,000 people that Menzgold had convinced them to invest GH¢1, 6 80,920,000 in a gold purchase scheme that yielded 10 per cent monthly interest.

According to him, the complainants said their money was locked up and they could not find Mensah and the other principal officers of the company.

The prosecutor said investigations revealed that Menzgold and Brew Marketing Consult were incorporated as limited liability companies in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

Menzgold, he said, obtained a licence from the Minerals Commission in August 2016 to purchase and export gold from small-scale miners and that in order to successfully engage in the business, Mensah founded Brew Marketing Consult to be a gold buying agent.

ASP Asare said although Menzgold was licensed to purchase gold, it was not licensed by the Minerals Commission to trade in gold.

Notwithstanding the lack of such a licence, the prosecutor said Menzgold went public after its incorporation and invited members of the public to deposit money for a fixed period with interest on the pretext of gold purchasing.

The prosecutor said further investigations revealed that Mensah, Tetteh and Appiah were the directors and principal officers of both Menzgold Ghana Limited and Brew Marketing Consult.



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