Over US$51 million gold fraud Which Landed NAM1 In Dubai Custody
Nana Appiah Mensah
Details over US$51 million gold fraud which led to a Dubai-based company arresting and prosecuting the Menzgold Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nana Appiah Mensah, for nearly nine months are trickling in bit by bit with names and actors owning up to the extent of their knowledge and involvement.
The latest controversy was sparked by a video made by Kelvin Ekow Baidoo Taylor, who alleged that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) company, Horizon Royal Diamonds contacted Ace Ankomah’s law firm; Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah (BELA), to represent them in a case that deals with fraud by two individuals, Adewoye Olorunfemi Adetunje, a Nigerian and Charles Opoku Darko, a Ghanaian.
The revelation by Mr Tayloy, has gotten Ace Ankomah and Charles Opoku Darko alias Chairman, CEO of CODCO Limiteda real estate developer and forex bureau business opening up on the issue. With Dr. K.K Amoah former boss of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) and the Commercial Crime Unit of the police, Chief Inspector Wisdom Semanu, yet to talk on the subject.
In the case of Dr. K.K Amoah is yet to be determined if he handed details of the on the US$51 million gold fraud to his successor Mr. Frank Adu-Poku.
But, while Ace Akomah, comes across as having concealed critical information on the US$51 million gold fraud which led to the arrest of the Menzgold CEO, came across as lying about his involvement and pushing the blame on his co-accused Adewoye Olorunfemi Adetunje, a Nigerian, currently on the run after Hopeson Adorye, formerly of the National Security and stationed at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), had helped him to flee.
Charles Opoku Darko, however, pushed the blame on Adewoye Olorunfemi Adetunje, a Nigerian and released suspicious documents which suggested there was only a transaction between him and the Nigerian over some fives houses at the cost of GHC35.1 million, sometime last year.
Strangely, Charles Opoku Darko, revealed that GH35.1 million was returned to Adewoye Olorunfemi Adetunje, although he had struggled to get both EOCO and Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) to defreeze a bank account in which the money was deposited.
He claimed he returned the money because, the Nigerian later expressed disinterest the properties.
“Adentunji paid for the services of a lawyer on his own, and eventually the funds were released. I wanted to transfer the money to his account, but his accounts had been frozen so I signed for him to withdraw his money from my account and terminated the sale of the houses. I have no business with him and whatever he went to do in Dubai. I have a lot of people buying properties from me, I cannot know how they all get their money to pay me.”
Interestingly, this is not the first time that this issue is being reported. The Herald, had in January 2019 in a publication titled “US$51 million Nigerian Gold Scammer Uses Ghanaian Passport” Ace Ankomah Holds Vital Key ToMenzgold Mystery”.
This paper reported among other things that it’s “ security sources in Ghana, have revealed that Accra-based Ace Anan Ankomah of Bentsi-EnchillLetsa & Ankomah law firm in his capacity as the legal representative of Horizon Royal Diamonds DMCC of Dubai, was among those who reported the US$51 million gold scam to the country security apparatus”, added that it was unclear “…however, not clear why Lawyer Ace Ankomah, has remained tightlipped on his knowledge of the US$51 million gold fraud and how it could lead to solving the Menzgold saga, although he has been loud on the subject calling the activities of the gold dealership company illegal. The law firm is said to have a dossier on the fraud, including photographs of the scammers”.
Because Ace Ankomah refused to respond to the issue despite several contacts made him by the media houses to respond to the issue of events leading to the arrest of the Menzgold CEO in Dubai by the UAE company Horizon Royal Diamonds.
However, his silence has been broken by Mr Taylor’s video in which he said after listening and seeing photos of the culprits from the representatives of the Dubai Company, lawyer Ankomah, agreed to press charges and help them retrieve the 50 million US Dollars paid to the fraudsters.
He said, Ace Ankomah contacted former EOCO boss, Dr. KK Amoah, whom he (Taylor) alleged to be the Uncle of Ace, to help in the case at hand.
He added that, after failed attempts to help in retrieving the money owed them by the alleged fraudsters (Adewoye Olorunfemi Adetunje and Charles Opoku Darko), Ace agreed to implicate Nana Appiah Mensah and make him the culprit.
Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] was brought into the conspiracy. The Attorney General and many others, who wanted to separate the presidency from Nana Appiah Mensah like Gabby Otchere Darko and many others, joined and the scheme was hatched, Kelvin Ekow Taylor narrated.
But Ace Anan Ankomah, denied allegations over his involvement in the Menzgold and Horizon Royal Diamonds scandal and is threatening legal actions against Mr Taylor.
In statement released last Tuesday, Mr Ankomah, said his law firm, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah, was only engaged by a Dubai-based attorney on behalf of a UAE company.
He, however, failed to mention the nature of the engagement and its details. He also did not mention the UAE company Horizon Royal Diamonds, saying “the work instruction did not mention or relate to either Menzgold or Nana Appiah Mensah. Neither the firm nor I have been involved in any incidents that allegedly happened in Dubai several months after we had been first instructed.”
The statement claimed that BELA was instructed to continue the process when the Dubai incidents came up for the Accra matter and that of Dubai were separate and unrelated.
“The client did not seek our opinion on the Dubai incidents and we proffered none. Every document or evidence that we received from the client and which was meant for the police we delivered to the investigator at the Commercial Crime Unit of the police, Chief Inspector Wisdom Semanu,” the statement explains further.
Ace Ankomah, further denied allegations that the former EOCO boss, Dr KK Amoah is his uncle. “He is a colleague lawyer and I know him very well as we have the same hometown. I also consider him an older friend as he considers me his senior at the Bar,” he said.
Ace Ankomah, did not mention Adewoye Olorunfemi Adetunje and Charles Opoku Darko, but shifted blame on the police, saying said “Our work ended when on 14th April 2019, the firm and the client mutually terminated our relationship and we handed the brief over another law firm on the 26th April 2019. As at that date, the matter was still with Commercial Crime Unit of Ghana Police”. That about three months after he had lied any engagement between his law firm and the Dubai-based company.
On his part, Charles Opoku Darko, responded to The Herald newspaper’s first publication in January 2019, nearly seven month after the news report.
The report named Adentunji Adewoye Olorunfemi, the owner of Just Gold Ghana Limited and Charles Opoku-Darko, as two suspected fraudsters in connection with the case. These two names received more prominence this week when Kelvin Ekow Taylor, the host of “With All Due Respect” released part two of his exposé on the alleged people behind the fall of NAM1, on Facebook.
In a phone conversation with Charles Opoku Darko, who said he was abroad for a treatment of nerve-related condition, he explained that these allegations against him were untrue.
Although, he admitted that some transactions were made into his bank account, he explained that they were in connection with houses that Adentunji wanted to buy from him.
According to him, his friend Adentunji, requested to buy some houses from him and after signing the contract documents, a bank transaction was made as payment for the houses.
He said: “However, when I was going to withdraw some of the money that was when I realized that the account had been frozen by EOCO. I was invited by EOCO and I explained and presented documents showing the purpose of the transaction.”
“Adentunji paid for the services of a lawyer on his own, and eventually the funds were released. I wanted to transfer the money to his account but his accounts had been frozen so I signed for him to withdraw his money from my account and terminated the sale of the houses. I have no business with him and whatever he went to do in Dubai. I have a lot of people buying properties from me, I cannot know how they all get their money to pay me.”
‘I don’t know why I am being added up to this whole scandal. I have not collected money from Ghanaians. I have not done any business with NAM1 and Ade. I didn’t follow either of them to go and sign any business transaction in Dubai. I don’t know anything about this,” he told a celebrity website ameyawdebrah.com.
But The Herald is informed by someone privy to the transaction that the purported sale of a house was cover up. The money were collected shared by the various actors, including officials of EOCO, who had gotten both Charles Opoku-Darko and Adentunji a lawyer apply to the court to defreeze the account.
The account was blocked, because the amount was thought to be drug money being laundered by the two; Charles Opoku-Darko and Adentunji.
Interestingly, one of the letters purported to be written by Just Gold Limited acknowledging the alleged refund of the GHC35.1 million, had the signature of a certain Gloria Serwa Brakatu, signing as an Administrative Secretary to the company used to defraud the UAE company Horizon Royal Diamonds.
It was dated May 30, 2018. It did not mention the telephone contact or office location of Just Gold Limited.
Other letters from Charles Opoku-Darko, rather mentioned the office address of the Just Gold as 2nd Boundary Road East Legon Accra and claimed the amount GH35.1 million was payment for “Six Executive Type Houses at Fanfy near A n C Shopping Mall”.
Each of the each 5 houses were allegedly sold for US$900, 000, but an apartment amongst them went for US$1.200.000, bringing the total among to US$7,800.00.
Charles Opoku-Darko, failed to mention how his estate company was found to have evaded tax, for which he was made to pay the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) more than GHC2million.
The Herald is informed that, the money that landed in a Fidelity Bank account at East Legon was US$10 million, and it was reported withdrawn and shared among lawyers, security officers, EOCO investigators, among others.
Ade was never arrested and Charles Opoku Darko’s invitations by EOCO, was merely made a formality.
More to come!