Gov’t not obliged to pay Menzgold customers – Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has stated that government does not owe it as a duty to pay customers of embattled gold firm Menzgold.

“I know the SEC has come down hard and strong – justifiably – on Menzgold, but the issue with a company like Menzgold is I even look at the Ministry of Finance and l see some people at the ministry who have invested there, and I look at the Bank of Ghana and I see some people who have invested there, and of course the military.

“So, it becomes an issue of greed as a people and our own behaviour when we are so clear and as educated as we might be – that when we went there, there was no license and we chose them to do that. I think it is not the place of government to fund or get your money back for you; it was an obvious trap that you went into,” he said at the 3rd Capital Market Conference to mark 20-year celebrations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Accra on Wednesday.

According to him, the industry players should continue to push the issue of education and empowerment so that people do not fall prey.

He also indicated that government is expending GH₵9billion to support 1.5m depositors whose monies were locked up with the seven collapsed banks which have been consolidated. “It is monies that could have been spent in other ways.”

The minister also stated that the ministry will continue supporting SEC to continue deepening its capacity to give strong and innovative leadership in the financial markets.

The Bank of Ghana and Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC) have warned Ghanaians not to trade with Menzgold, revealing that it is unlicensed and the business is shady – which needs urgent attention from the regulators.

The central bank argued that the company was conducting business contrary to some provisions in the Banks and Specialised Deposit-taking institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).

The company at the time denied that it was taking deposits from the public, insisting that it was just involved in commodity trading, buying and selling gold.

The 3rd Capital Market Conference this year focuses on key issues like financing SMEs, housing, financing agric, and using the capital markets – which analysts say has a crucial role to play in the economy.

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