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xxxxxxxxxxx of Thursday, 20 October 2016


Tempers flare as DKM investors get ‘annoying’ GHC10 repayment

Scores of disappointed clients of the liquidated DKM Microfinance Company have flown into an open rage in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital, over an alleged move by liquidators to reimburse only GHC10 or GHC20 to each customer for huge investments made.

The investors, most of whom were ready to accept even their deposits without interests after initial struggles for both deposits and interests had only drained their energy, crowded the premises of the GCB branch in Bolgatanga, one of the banks designated by the Registrar General’s Department for the repayment of the withheld savings, Wednesday. But their hopes were met with a raw shock when the cashiers engaged by the liquidators handed each person either GHC10 or GHC20 only.

The development was heading for violent disturbances but for the intervention of armed security personnel who stood their grounds against attempts by some of the angry depositors to descend on the liquidators who took refuge inside the offices of the bank.

“How can you invest this heavy money and come and collect GHC10? Imagine- are you going to give it to fowls? If you are rearing fowls, GHC10 cannot even feed your fowls, not to talk about feeding your family and paying your children’s school fees,” Robert Aduko, one of the depositors who filled a half of the GCB’s yard on the Commercial Street, ranted in front of cameras as others fumed in the background.

“Some of us came last night. We had to queue here. And they are telling us they are giving us GHC10. We don’t understand how come GHC10. We did an investment and you are giving us GHC10. What are we going to do with GHC10? All we want is our money. We don’t want any GHC10 because that is not what we invested.

“They should just give us our money. That is what we demand. If they are not ready to do that, they should just forget about it. We are not ready to take that GHC10,” Asuah Zakari, poured out his frustrations to Starr News whilst a woman, holding a blue purse tight under her left armpit and repeatedly sticking her right forefinger in the air with rage, strongly warned fellow victims milling around in the troubled yard: “This is annoying! If you take the GHC10, it means you have closed your accounts. It means you have closed your accounts like that!”

Investors reaffirm threats to vote against Mahama

The initial threats levelled by the disappointed investors to vote against President John Dramani Mahama had gone silent in September after the Bank of Ghana announced that repayments would be made in October.

But those threats bounced back to the fore Wednesday as the customers said they had become convinced enough that government “is taking us for granted” and issued stronger warnings.

“Mahama should see what he can do about this issue; if not, we are going to vote him out! If he is sitting down there in that office and [eating] better, we are not [eating] better here. They should look for our money for us,” a client, Michael Abori, raved like thunder.

“The power point of the ruling government is here,” said another customer who was pointing at the ground with reference to the Upper East Region as a stronghold of the ruling party- the National Democratic Congress (NDC). “If he doesn’t do anything about this, he should count our votes out- about 6,000 of us who are affected,” he added.

Panicky liquidators snub the press
The protests lasted about 5 hours on the compound with the liquidators taking cover inside the GCB's multipurpose building and strictly turning down attempts by the press to extract explanations from them.

The security officers, dressed like robots and without a streak of humour on their faces, would not allow anyone into the ‘sanctuaries’ where the liquidators were being protected from possible attacks.

Under the canopies mounted in the yard for customers waiting in line for their turns to be reimbursed were some pregnant women and elderly people who were too weak to join the fray but could only watch the wild protests from the 'discomfort' of their plastic chairs. A great number of them, who invested heavily at the company, had travelled to Bolgatanga from faraway places like Ho in the Volta Region and Ejisu in the Ashanti Region only to receive the paltry GHC20 or "annoying" GHC10.

The Bank of Ghana shut down the company on Monday May 11, 2015, after it reportedly failed to comply with the terms and conditions required in its licence and also for purportedly possessing assets deemed too insufficient to meet its liabilities to investors.

Several millions of Ghana cedis got locked up at the firm as thousands of shareholders including chiefs and clerics, hit by the sudden disaster, held their heads in raw horror.

Devastated creditors across the country openly blamed the BoG for alleged failure to have ascertained the capabilities of the company from the onset before granting it licence to operate. And President John Dramani Mahama himself came under fire not only because the disaster struck under his government but also because it was taking so long for government to undo "the mess" despite the "several promises” the president made to address the public concerns.

Government finally bowed to pressure following endless protests that repeatedly saw the depositors-turned-demonstrators, who said marriages were being dissolved and DKM-related suicide cases were being recorded, issue open threats to vote against the ruling party if government failed to retrieve their investments for them. In a move to lay the agitations to rest, government announced in September its readiness to have the withheld investments reimbursed in October.