Microfinance customers are greedy, irresponsible – Pratt

Editor-in-chief of the Insight Newspaper says managers of some microfinance companies whose assets have been seized by the Bank of Ghana knew too well that interests they claimed to offer on deposits were impracticable.

Mr Pratt said it baffled him that anyone in the current economic environment will believe that they can make 60 percent or more interest on an investment within three months.

Yet, those who fall prey to these schemes are highly educated persons whom you thought would have known better, he indicated.

“It is strange that people still buy into these schemes which can be seen as fraudulent. In this economy, if someone tells you to make an investment in an enterprise and that in a matter of three months you will get 60 percent interest you must know that it is not workable,” he said.

Customers of DKM Microfinance and other microfinance companies have since September 2015 been trying unsuccessfully to retrieve their deposits from the company.

An audit conducted by the Bank of Ghana revealed that managers of DKM invested depositors’ money totalling ¢113 million in their personal businesses.

The investigative report showed the company amassed ¢113 million in deposits but only ¢10.7 million was left in its account after the regulator began checking their books.

The current development places the Sunyani-based financial institution in a difficult position to pay back monies collected from depositors.

The Bank of Ghana has however decided to liquidate the assets of DKM Microfinance to offset their debts and pay back customers who have their investments locked up.

This follows President Mahama’s directive to the Bureau of National Investigations to confiscate properties of DKM Microfinance as the government rolled out plans to pay customers whose monies had been locked up with the company.

In Mr Pratt’s view, these depositors should have known that nothing good could come out of these deals.

“If these schemes have collapsed and collapsed on their heads it is also partly because they were greedy and highly irresponsible.

“These are not innocent victims, these are people who walked into the traps themselves with their eyes open,” he said.

Regardless of this Mr Pratt said it was government’s responsibility to deal with the issue because it is fraud and the laws of Ghana are against it.

“Government has the responsibility to protect its citizens even if they are gullible and greedy. It has a certain responsibility to ensure that the wrongs are righted in this matter.”

He advised the public to desist from politicizing the issue and allow authorities to handle it in the most appropriate manner.

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