Aggrieved Customers of Gold Coast Fund Management are set to picket the Ministry of Finance from today, Tuesday, 28 November to Wednesday, 29 November 2023 to demand their locked-up funds.
They reiterated to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, after the presentationof the 2024 budget on Wednesday, 15 November 2023, "to immediately pay our locked-up funds" rather than "attempt to deceive and confuse the general public with ambiguous statements while our members continue to be plagued with pain and horrors of various hardships including deaths, terminal illness and destitutions resulting from the government's financial clean-up exercise".
A post-budget statement issued by the group on Thursday, 16 November 2023, said: "We want to bring to the attention of the general public the ambiguous statement captured in paragraph 150 on pages 32 and 33 of the 2024 annual budget, which reads: 'Mr. Speaker, in addition, a provision of GHC 4 billion has been made in the 2024 budget to address National Investment Bank (NIB) SDIs, and other outstanding legacy challenges in the Financial Sector. Notwithstanding the ongoing litigation commenced by shareholders Blackshield Capital Management Limited (formerly Gold Coast Securities Limited), the SEC will continue to engage the Official Liquidator and the client of defunct Blackshield to reach a consensus on a framework for a bailout intervention and an amicable resolution of the impasse'".
In response to the extract, the aggrieved customers say "we would like to state the following:
1. The pending litigations, both challenging the revocation of the operational licence of Blackshield Capital Management Limited (Gold Coast Fund Management) initiated by the shareholders of Blackshield, and the litigation seeking a Liquidation Order filed by the Registrar of Companies, do not legally impede the disbursement of the parliamentary-approved bailout package. We request the Finance Minister to refrain from conditioning the payment of our locked-up funds to the outcome of any of the pending court cases. The Finance Minister should immediately pay us from the remaining GHC 5.5 billion.
2. We would like to remind the Finance Minister that there is no need for further frameworks that will deliberately prolong the already delayed payment of our locked-up funds, which has been almost six (6) years. The Finance Ministry should proceed with the payment using the same bank accounts that were created in the names of individual beneficiaries at the various branches of GCB across the country for the payment of the Partial Bailout.
3. We urge the Finance Minister to come forward and clarify the significant ambiguity surrounding the statement captured in paragraph 150 of the 2024 Budget Statement. On this paragraph, GHC 4 billion is allocated to address three specific issues - National Investment Bank (NIB), Special Deposits Institutions (SDIs), and outstanding legacy challenges in the Financial Sector (Blackshield/ Gold Coast Fund Management). We emphatically state that even without considering the other mentioned institutions, namely NIB and SDIs, this allocation of GHC 4 billion is insufficient to pay the outstanding balances of the validated claims of Customers of Gold Coast Fund Management. We must ask, where is the remaining GHC 5.5 billion from the Parliamentary approved Bailout package of GHC 8.6 billion?
The aggrieved customers say they "will not tolerate any further delay in the payment of our locked-up funds. Therefore, we call on all affected members and well-wishers to join us in mounting pressure on the Finance Ministry through a scheduled protest" billed for 28th and 29th November 2023 at the Ministry of Finance.