The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has grilled the two directors of Global Coin Community Help (GCCH) for allegedly swindling more than 110,000 customers of their deposits to the tune of GH¢135 million in a crypto-currency syndicate.
The two GCCH directors, Mr Kwaku Damete Kumi and Mr David Opatey, were released on bail by the state investigative body after several hours of interrogation last Tuesday.
The Executive Director of EOCO, Mr K.K. Amoah, confirmed the arrest of the two in an interview with the Daily Graphic on Tuesday, November 27 after the paper had broken the story.
“Yes, we have arrested them and released them after thorough interrogations and we have asked them to report again next week to continue with them,” the EOCO boss said.
“We get a fresh list of depositors who have been swindled one way or another every day and so the 110,000 figure is likely to go up by the end of the week and the amount of deposits would likely go up.
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“There are several other syndicates of this type we have arrested and they are being questioned and very soon they will be arraigned,” he added.
Mr Amoah said the directors were accepting deposits from the public without a licence from the Bank of Ghana.
Background checks on the tall list of some depositors seen by the Daily Graphic showed that majority of them were military personnel, medical doctors, policemen, Immigration officials, teachers and traders.
Some of the depositors have formed pressure groups to press their demand for the government to assist them to retrieve their locked-up lifetime savings.
The Chairman of one such pressure group, Mr Makafui Sebuabeh, pleaded for legal assistance from the Attorney-General to help them retrieve their deposits.
“We are not lazy, neither are we greedy. We are hardworking Ghanaians who saw an investment opportunity and decided to invest,” he said.
That, he said, had wider implications for the economy and, therefore, called on the relevant state agencies to support them to retrieve their deposits.
The Daily Graphic, on Tuesday, November 27, reported that the directors of Global Coin Community Help, Mr Kwaku Damete Kumi and Mr David Opatey, were on the wanted list of EOCO and the CID for allegedly swindling more than 3,000 customers of GH¢4 million.
But updates from the state investigative body indicate that the amount of deposits and the number of customers far exceed what were reported in the earlier publication and that more complaints were being received from aggrieved depositors.
The modus operandi of the scam is to collect deposits from customers and pay them a monthly interest of 27 per cent for one year or 12 months, after which the principal and interests expire, with no further obligation to the company.
The Daily Graphic further learnt that the least depositor had GH¢5,000, while the highest depositor had more than GH¢300,000 in his or her account.
Migration to mintcrtx
Unable to pay the interest and the principal, the company migrated all depositors onto a trading platform called mintcrtx, where coins were offered to depositors based on the value of their investment and deposits.
Each coin was valued at GH¢20 and traded on the platform which was created and controlled by the owners and the directors of GCCH.
As of Thursday, November 8, 2018, a coin worth GH¢20 was trading at GH¢2 when the Daily Graphic checked.
The value of a coin has never traded above GH¢20 on the platform.
At the moment, the GCCH offices in Nsawam in the Eastern Region and Haatso in the Greater Accra Region have been shut down and customers have formed pressure groups to petition state security and investigative agencies to arrest the directors of the company.
The activity is similar to bitcoin trade, which is now widespread and popular in the country, despite several warnings by the Bank of Ghana and other regulatory agencies.
The bitcoin or crypto-currency platform serves as a medium of exchange created and stored electronically in the block chain, using encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds.
It has no physical form and exists only in the network. Its supply is not determined by the central bank and the network is completely decentralised.
Early this month, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) warned that it had not issued licences to the following companies to carry out deposit-taking activities.
The companies are Global Coin Community Help International Limited (GCCH), Wealth Drive Ghana Limited (WDG), Devonshire Place Capital Ghana Limited, TCL Markets Ghana Limited, FX-Crypto Traders and Sonsis Susu Services Limited.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the Bank of Ghana, Mrs Frances Van-Hein Sackey, warned: “Anyone who does business with these entities does so at his or her own risk and the Bank of Ghana will not be liable for the refund of any deposit lost by a depositor.”