“When I was convinced that Menzgold was real, after it had paid me two months of my ‘extra value’, I went to Ecobank Ghana and took a loan of GH¢500,000 to top-up my investments there. Now, the bank is chasing me for the loan while my money is locked up at Menzgold,” Mr. Seidu (real name disguised), a Takoradi-based businessman and aggrieved customer of Menzgold, told the B&FT.
The narrative above is not peculiar to Mr. Seidu: after convincing themselves that the company was real, a number of people took loans from banks, family and/or friends and invested with Menzgold, hoping to get bumper interests and pay off their debts in no time.
Others even withdrew their savings and investments from their banks and investment companies and deposited all with Menzgold, in pursuit of the juicy 10 percent monthly interest that the botched gold dealership was offering.
An electrical engineer in Accra who wants to be known as Adama also took a GH¢40,000 loan from the same Ecobank Ghana and added GH¢14,000 from his personal savings, making a total of GH¢54,000, and invested in the company. For months now since the investment backfired, he has had to still service the loan with his monthly salary for an investment he never reaped.
An Accra-based teacher, Godfrey Ankomah, also a customer of Stanbic Bank, has GH¢36,000 locked up with Menzgold – out of which GH¢13,000 is a loan he secured from his bank. Mr. Ankomah, married and a father of one, currently takes home just GH¢700 as the loan is paid from his salary.
Aside from the banks and other financial institutions chasing these aggrieved customers, others are being pursued by family and friends – which has led to strained relationships.
One man, who wants to remain anonymous, said he has GH¢62,000 with the gold dealership firm. Out of this amount, GH¢50,000 is a loan he got from a friend which he promised to pay as soon as he took his investment from the company. The money is however locked up and his friend is also on his neck demanding his money.
Many of Menzgold’s customers say they initially had their own reservations about investing with the company until they were convinced by friends and relatives who had invested with it and attested that the company was genuine.
Others were also convinced by the company CEO Nana Appiah Mensah’s apparent ‘flirtations’ with influential figures in society — politicians, chiefs, and religious leaders — that the company was real and deposited all their hard-earned savings there.
For instance, Mr. Seidu – mentioned earlier, has in total GH¢1.2million with the company. He says he only became convinced to invest with the company after its CEO visited the National Chief Imam, Shiekh Osmanu Nuhu Shaributu; a figure he Mr. Seidu personally has respect for.
Mr. Ankomah, on the other hand, started trusting that the company was real when his wife got a job there and convinced him to invest with it. This further moved him to convince his colleagues at work to join the business, and they did.
These aggrieved and highly-indebted customers are calling on government to step up its efforts in getting the gold dealership company to pay them back – at least, the principal they invested.