SIX of the seven customers of Menzgold arrested for their role in last Tuesday morning’s demonstration in front of the gold dealership company’s office at Amakom in Kumasi have pleaded not guilty in a trial bordering on public nuisance.
Eric Kwakye, Vivian Agyei, James Abubakar, Arnold Tamakloe, Adams Osman and Kofi Agyarko have been charged under sections 1 and 9 (a) (c) and (f) of Act 491/91 for participating in a special event without prior notice to the police.
The seventh suspect, Jafta Agyemang was not present in the Asokore-Mampong District Magistrate Court presided over by Mrs Portia Molly Anafo Salia.
They were granted a total of GH¢30,000 bail to reappear on January 22, 2019 to continue their trial. Each person was granted a GH¢5,000 bail with one surety each.
All the seven people were arrested over a “protest demonstration” that demanded payment of their principal investments from the gold dealership company after it was instructed to cease operation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The protesters, during the demonstration, expressed disappointment in President Akufo-Addo for what they considered to be his deafening silence on the saga, indicating that they had not received any encouraging response so far from the government.
The angry customers also accused other state institutions for having gone silent on the issue.
“Nana Addo, we want our monies! Otumfuo, we want our monies!!”
The protesters chanted, holding placards that castigated government and the management of Menzgold for their insensitivity.
The police arrested seven of them after it turned violent. While four of the suspects were arrested at the scene of the demonstration, three others were apprehended after turning themselves in at the Regional Police Headquarters upon invitation.
The police used stun tools to disperse the demonstrators after old vehicle tyres were burnt in the middle of a major road – in front of the gold dealership company’s office at Amakom, a suburb of Kumasi – that links the city’s central business district, Adum.
There was no casualty or injury to any person to require medical treatment.
The demonstration, which was said not to have followed due process as spelt out in the Public Order Act, began around 7:00 am, and it was the second in the city of Kumasi in recent months.
Police maintained heavy presence on the premises of the company amid fears of a return to the violence seen in the area in the morning which caused vehicular traffic jam and chaotic scenes.
They had warned the leaders of a group calling itself “Concerned Customers of Menzgold” against proceeding with the demonstration.
In a statement issued and signed by ASP Godwin Ahianyo, the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, he indicated that their action would be deemed illegal and that “whoever takes part in the demonstration will be dealt with according to law.”
But the demonstrators defied the warning and went ahead with the protest, burning car tyres to the chagrin of the law enforcers, who were deployed to the area to protect life and property.
The police prevented the protesters from going to the Manhyia Palace to present a letter to remind the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, of their petition to help them recover their locked-up funds with Menzgold.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi