The CEO of God Is Love Fun Club, one of the microfinance companies currently holding depositors' money in the Brong-Ahafo Region, has been arrested by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
Monica Afriyie, popularly called Maame Korkor, was arrested by the BNI and sent to Accra for interrogation after failing to cooperate with state officials in the Brong-Ahafo Region where thousands of people have had their investments locked up in some dodgy microfinance companies.
According to the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Eric Opoku, when Maame Korkor was summoned to provide the lists of all customers and banks that these monies were lodged with, she refused and so had to be picked up by the BNI for further interrogation and questioning in Accra.
In Berekum alone, over 19,000 customers can not have access to their money totalling over GH¢49 million with the fun club, rendering most of them destitute.
Some microfinance operators in the Brong-Ahafo Region have run away leaving their premises locked up and putting a lot of stress on customers who have their money with them.
A typical case is Dwardifour Adamfo Loan and Susu Investment Company at Techiman whose managers have locked their offices and left a note behind. As a result, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Security Council is looking for them to account for their operations.
The Regional Minister and Chairman of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), Eric Opoku, told a local radio station, Suncity Fm in Sunyani on Thursday after a REGSEC meeting that they were doing everything to get them.
According to the minister, some customers are committing suicide while others cannot pay their wards' school fees because their investments have been locked up.
He, however, could not tell how many people's monies are locked up in these microfinance companies and fun clubs.
The regional minister said from REGSEC's investigations, the God Is Love Fun Club customers first thought their monies were being used for investments but unknown to them, the managers were only robbing Peter to pay Paul or what is called circulation in business circles.
He added that when the CEO of God Is Love Fun Club was summoned, she refused to cooperate.
He admitted that because more people's monies were involved, it had become a security issue and so they had to ask the BNI to come in.
Asked if after investigations the people would get their monies back, the regional minister replied in the affirmative but was quick to add that they might not get them with interest and that it would take time.
He said investigations revealed that some of the managers of these microfinance companies, after collecting the monies, went and built houses and are staying in them with their families.
Asked what measures were being put in place so that people would not fall victim to such unscrupulous persons in the future, the minister said the REGSEC has empowered all municipal and district assemblies in the region to demand operating licenses from microfinance companies certified by the BoG before they are allowed to operate in their jurisdictions.
More so, he said, henceforth the municipal and district assemblies will embark on a vigorous campaign in the media to educate residents to be able to identify legal and competent managers who can put their money into proper investments.
FROM Daniel Y Dayee, Sunyani