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06.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Failed Parliament Aspirant ‘Bolts’ With Client’s Savings

The statesman

A failed independent parliamentary candidate who contested the Manhyia seat in the December 2004 elections, Kofi Akpaloo has allegedly absconded with deposits of customers of a savings and loans company that he headed. The case is one of the several concerning failed small-scale non bank financial institutions.

However, these savings schemes are enthusiastically patronized by the informal sector, which constitutes an estimated 80% or so of the economy. Akpaloo, who is the managing director of Presdel Loans and Savings Company, was believed to be cooling off in the United States of America and efforts were being made by Interpol Ghana to trace and arrest him.

Several customers who have lost their life savings said they began to sense that something was amiss about three months ago when agents of Presdel Loans and Savings Company who normally went to customers to collect their deposits abruptly stopped coming to them. Fearing the worst, some of the depositors went to the company's offices only to find it locked up with nobody or worker in sight.

Further enquiries from the landlord established that the company had moved out to a new office unknown to the landlord. The disappointed customers later go to know that the company had folded up and its managing director, Kofi Akpaloo migrated to the United States of America.

The statesman can reveal that within the last six months, about four of such savings and loans companies have collapsed with customers losing billions of cedis. Some of the companies are Golden Age, Top 7000, both owned by one Agbemor Yeboah who once stood as a parliamentary candidate, Presdel and Nagyim company.

Even as some of these non-bank financial institutions continue to rip off customers of their hard earned savings, several other companies are springing up daily. It is believed that some of these companies have not been licensed by the Bank of Ghana which has responsibility over such matters.

It was learnt that most people especially traders, drivers and others in the informal sector were reluctant to use the services of the banks because of their huge initial deposit requirement and the delays they encountered at the banks.