FIIFI OPPONG Writes | Appointment Of DKM’s Liquidators: Customers’ Anger, Insults They Won’t Take From BOG And Why REGSEC Must Step In


DKM Clashes1

So what has dominated the airwaves in Sunyani since Monday has been a so-called publication in one of the national dailies that a liquidator has been given the mandate to foreclose the assets of scam microfinance company, DKM Diamond Ltd, and payoff its customers with proceeds from the liquidated assets.

Just when we all thought that Raymond Amanfu and his colleagues at Bank of Ghana have learnt from their own poor management of issues surrounding the botched microfinance companies, their gross incompetence which got them a presidential bashing, and lack of respect for affected customers is once again coming to play.

According to the said publication, one Jemima Oware of Registrar General’s office has been appointed as the liquidator of DKM, and therefore all affected customers should submit coloured photocopies of their original deposit sheets to her before May 11, 2016 at five (5) designated offices in Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi and Tamale – none of which is in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

What’s funny and interesting though is how any serious regulator interested in finding lasting solutions to an issue that has killed many people and is still killing more, would appoint someone to bring relief to victims and yet fail to bring the said relief to the doorsteps of the people hardest hit by the unfortunate scam that has crippled the Brong-Ahafo economy.

We all know that customers in Brong-Ahafo were the worst-affected victims in the activities of these infamous Ponzi microfinance schemes – which led to the involvement of MPs, Chiefs, the Regional Minister and the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), who declared it a Regional Security issue and organized several meetings between stakeholders with the aim of finding permanent solutions to the issues.

The same Bank of Ghana who sat here unconcerned for years and allowed these fraudulent companies to dupe unsuspecting customers, found it necessary to ride on the back of symposia organized by the REGSEC to explain matters to customers – though their dumb explanations made no sense to affected customers who walked out on them leaving empty chairs even before the program was over.

It would therefore be interesting to know why the central bank after finding a liquidator hasn’t involved the REGSEC in determining where affected customers could seek redress – but again, it’s the grossly incompetent and disrespectful Bank of Ghana at work, what do you expect?

BOG and its so-called appointed liquidator want these already traumatised customers who have lost almost all their lifetime savings, to spend their last pesewa travelling to Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi or Tamale in search of an office where they could lodge their deposit slips and come back home hoping that their last pesewa invested in transportation would bring back their millions — which is even uncertain. What is more insulting than this?

Perhaps the BOG and the liquidator think it’s only those bankers and top executives who allegedly stashed up money in DKM who are the most affected. Let them be told that the majority of the duped are the farmers, butchers, shoe makers, taxi drivers, hair dressers, seamstresses, market women, mechanics, artisans, etc who are the majority stakeholders in the Brong-Ahafo economy.

It’s clear that this is how the central bank wants the vulnerable customers to lose their lifetime savings. These same people who have already gone through much trauma are the ones now being asked to walk through the hell of another Ghanaian bureaucratic process, not even in their comfort zones but far away in other cities some of them have never been to.

They did it to customers of Onward Investments which folded up years back and as we speak, none their customers that I know have received a penny. Some even don’t know they were supposed to go through any processes to recoup their monies – since the processes have been similarly ongoing in Accra.

The top executives at Bank of Ghana were loud on radio and TV every morning explaining the issues when affected customers were agitating and invoking curses on them, but now that they have a liquidator, they have chosen to keep mute and put up a publication in a small corner of a national newspaper and expect the chunk of the people concerned to know about it, when they are truly aware that these customers don’t really read or care about the newspapers but are almost always glued to their radio sets.

Couldn’t the central bank and their appointed liquidators have put up short announcements on local radio stations so everyone affected would know?

I see the Bank of Ghana and the liquidators want to handle this issue in the same conventional way they’ve handled similar issues in the past, but what they must realize is that the DKM issue became a national security issue and so demands a more creative and pragmatic approach than their usual mundane approach.

Radio stations in B/A have done free publicity on this issues and I’m sure would even want to do more for their people to get back their deposits, but the BOG and the liquidators don’t even care to inform them about the next steps affected customers should take, so they would also inform them.

Now the liquidator sits in her office and is expecting people to contact her, submit receipts and show her other investments of DKM – with a deliberate caveat that failure to do so before the stated deadline means “you have no business with DKM… will automatically be written off”.

Knowing that customers would come after them, they also add that “it’s a matter of law and not appeal to conscience or emotions”.

Everyone knows you are dealing with the law, but you should have also known that you need to find nearby offices in the Brong-Ahafo region where the customers hit by the scam could go and submit their receipts – this isn’t rocket science, it’s common sense!

If after all the shame the BOG has brought upon itself through its failure to perform its regulatory role effectively, this is how they would want to handle the DKM issue, then they really don’t have any intentions of protecting the customer and ensuring they are reimbursed.

From the posturing of the BOG and their liquidators, it is clear that they are not out to solve any problems but want to rather compound the issues and this is where the REGSEC must step in before tempers go up again and create another national security situation.

We wait to see how the REGSEC would intervene to address the anomaly and negotiate for nearby offices in the locations worst-affected, so our compatriots can easily go and submit their deposits and hope for a better tomorrow.