Some residents and traders of Obogu, near Juaso in the Asante Akim South District of the Ashanti Region, are up in arms against the manager and workers of a local savings and loans company, Workers? Alliance Company Limited (WACL).
The anger of both traders and residents stems from the fact that the manager of WACL, has, allegedly, absconded with their monies.
The total sum, running into thousands of cedis, is from money the customers have deposited with WACL, a financial institution established about two years ago in Obogu with Mr. Stephen Karikari as the branch Manager.
But when Today reached him on phone, Mr. Karikari admitted the closure of the Obogu branch of WACL explaining that they had some financial challenges since the Christmas festivities last year.
??Therefore the chief executive officer (who he refused to say his name) called for an audit into the accounts of that branch and then decided to close the company until the company got back to its feet,? he added.
According to him, most of the customers in Obogu owe the company and until they pay back their loans, the company would find it difficult giving them all their monies.
He however hinted that customers at Obogu who need their monies could get part of it when they go to Kumasi where WACL is headquartered.
To attract more customers, Today gathered, WACL promised potential customers loans along with flexible terms of payment if they saved with the firm for a minimum of three months.
That promise, attracted many traders and residents to save with WACL.
A resident of the town and WACL customer, Kwabena Brobbey said: ?We were told that when the three months are up, they [WACL] would multiply our savings at the bank by two and offer it to us as a loan.?
Brobbey claimed that WACL used the customers? savings to purchase taxis for other customers, who used it to work on a ?work-and-pay? basis.
A trader and a customer of WACL, Madam Georgina Nyamah, also told Today that when the company arrived in the town, she was the first person the manager contacted.
?I introduced the company to many? residents of Obogu to save there, because of the good packages they promised,? she disclosed.
In order to qualify for a good amount of loan, Madam Nyamah told Today, ?I borrowed GH?1,000.00 from somewhere and deposited GH?840.00 into my [WACL] accounts.?
According to Madam Nyamah, WACL employed ?susu? collectors to go out daily to collect daily savings from customers. ?One man, George Okyere, was assigned to collect money from me on a daily basis, but for two months he stopped coming.
He started collecting the money, but stopped coming for two months before Madam Nyamah called him.
When I called him to ask why, he informed me that the company has folded up, because of debt,? she added.
?The susu collector told me that the customers who had collected loans, as well as the taxi drivers doing ?work-and-pay,? were not paying their loans,? she said.
Madam Nyamah said they later heard news that Mr. Karikari and all his workers have deserted the town, and ?anytime the customers in the town called [any of] them on phone, they kept assuring us that things are under control and that they would soon give us our monies.?
?My daughter has saved GH?400.00 with the company; my father-in-law, GH?1,600.00, and; my mother-in-law GH? 1,200.00,? she disclosed.
She also alleged that WACL has bolted with about GH?18,000.00 belonging to residents and traders of Obogu.
When asked what information they knew about Mr. Karikari and his company prior to saving with the WACL, Madam Nyamah replied that the only thing they know about the company is that it came from Kumasi.
?I am seriously under pressure from the women in the town, because I introduced many of them to the company. They keep pestering me on the whereabouts of the manager [and workers] of the company, but I do not have anything to tell them,? she lamented.
Those WACL customers she knows have not reported the matter to the police yet, because Mr. Karikari keeps assuring them on telephone that they would soon hear from him and his workers. However, that has not prevented some customers from invoking curses on the WACL manager.