Nana Appiah Mensah, the founder of the defunct Menzgold company, who is on trial for allegedly defrauding over 16,000 people of GH¢1.6 billion, has denied circumventing the laws of Ghana to operate an illegal gold deposit-taking business.
His lawyer, Kwame Akuffo, told the High Court on Tuesday, September 19, that Appiah Mensah popularly known as NAM 1 did not circumvent the Banking and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) as alleged by the prosecution.
Instead, Akuffo claimed that it was officials of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) who advised Mensah to change the name of his company from Menzbank to Menzbanc and to set up a third company, Brew Marketing Consult, to keep the gold marketing business distinct from the business of Menzgold.
“Indeed, in meetings with the BoG, it was the BoG that recommended that a third accused company ( Brew Marketing Consult) be set up in order to ensure that the gold marketing business was kept distinct from the business of Menzgold,” counsel said, reports Graphic Online’s Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson from the court.
Mr Akuffo said he would not mention the names of the BoG officials who gave the advice to his client, but at the appropriate time during the trial, he would subpoena them to testify to aid the defence of his client.
“I will skip the names because the court may take evidence from them in camera,” counsel said.
Meanwhile, NAM 1 has pleaded not guilty to 39 counts, ranging from violating Act 930, defrauding by false pretence, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering.
The court, presided over by Dr Ernest Owusu-Dapaa, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, sitting as an additional High Court judge, admitted NAM 1 to bail in the sum of GH¢500million, with four sureties.
As part of the bail conditions, Justice Owusu-Dapaa, also ordered NAM 1 to deposit his passport with the Registrar of the Court, and also report to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) every Thursday.