Hunt for Cryptocurrency Kingpins in Ghana
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) are on a manhunt for the directors and operators of a cryptocurrency syndicate who have allegedly swindled more than 3,000 people of their deposits.
Operating under an unlicensed company name, the Global Coin Community Help (GCCH), a deposit-taking institution, the directors and owners are said to have absconded with more than GH¢4 million of depositors’ funds.
The Daily Graphic has learnt the company began as a deposit-operating institution but later transformed into a cryptocurrency trading entity which gave its customers 27 per cent earnings every month for a year.
Thereafter, the customers will lose their principal deposits and any further earnings.
The Executive Director of EOCO, Mr K.K. Amoah, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the state investigative bodies were on a manhunt for the directors of the sophisticated phony company.
“Yes, we have received complaints from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and some of the depositors who have lost their deposits in the Global Coin Community Help and so we are on the lookout for the directors,” he said.
The GCCH directors who are being hunted by the security agencies are Mr Kwaku Damete Kumi and Mr David Opatey, both currently on the run.
The Daily Graphic further learnt that the least depositor had GH¢5,000, while the highest depositor had more than GH¢200,000 in his or her account.
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.
Migration to Mint CRTX
Unable to pay the interest and the principal, the company migrated all depositors onto a trading platform called Mint CRTX, 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 cryptocurrency platform serves as a medium of exchange created and stored electronically in the blockchain, 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.”