General News of 2014-07-02

Ghana Free Zones Board paid for “International Quality Award”?

The Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), was recently awarded the “International Star for Leadership in Quality” award at the “2014 International Quality Awards” organised by a Spain-registered company, Business Initiative Directions (BID).

The state-agency including three other Ghanaian companies were awarded shields and citations for distinction at quality improvement at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile Palais des Congres Convention Hall, presided over by President and CEO of BID, Jose E. Prieto.

Meanwhile, a Slovenian company, Company On Net™ (CONNET) founded on the “basis of lack of trust and inadequate certificate systems for verification of company identity on the internet,” has tagged BID’s International Quality Awards a scam.

On their Facebook page for their phishing and fraud protection brand, SafeSigned, they posted:

“This is a scam alert.

“SecuCert team recommends you to pay attention only to trustworthy organisations issuing certificates. And please, do ask for a properly protected web certificate too…

“And here is an example of a scam: We have received an email with this content:

“On November 27th, 2012, the President of Business Initiative Directions (BID), Jose E. Prieto, sent a letter by post to the General Manager as an official notification designating SecuCert to receive the International Century Quality ERA Award in the GOLD category.

“Business Initiative Directions is like a small advertising company or something like that, registered in Spain. In recent years has been devoted to send such communications to small businesses worldwide.

“They tell you that your company won an award of excellence and they offer international recognition. If you sign up to receive the award you are asked to pay them 3,900 euro and they will pay the hotel room for two days.

“There are companies that fall into this. These companies pay and receive a certificate and a trophy. This award has no value since B.I.D., a non-recognized firm, makes easy money by giving these awards. Apparently, you cannot report this scam, because companies are not required to pay this money. Companies pay voluntarily. It's an easy way to make money from fools.”

The 2008 ISSE (Information Security Solutions Europe) Innovation Award recipients, CONNET, also added internet domains ran by BID which included:,,,,,, and

Another online portal,, which provides comprehensive information on topics that help companies become more intelligent and productive, had a topic trend that described BID’s quality awards a scam.

Markus Schafheutle who started the trend “international quality award”, asked: “we are a small business company, and we received a letter that we have been chosen as a recipient of the Century International Quality Era Award for 2002 to be held in Geneva this month. Nobody contacted us beforehand and they require 3200 dollars for hotels and fee. This make us suspicious. On the other hand, the side the company is not fake because they have given us phones, emails and website

Can we trust this invitation and what is the benefit of such an award?”

It generated many responses including one from a Marc Richardson who is a Snr. Quality Assurance Engineer.

He said: “This one makes my scan alert system go into full alarm mode. First of all, why on earth would you give them any money for hotels? Why wouldn’t you make your own reservations and pay them directly?

“…This sounds to me like a scam where you get notified that you have been chosen for inclusion in some kind of “Who’s Who” book. You are asked to send whatever ($50 -$100) for a copy of the book.”

Last year, First Allied Savings and Loans picked the same award in July at Paris, France; whiles Origin8, an advertising agency won the same award three times (2004, 2006 and 2007). Other companies in Africa have won over the years.

With this revealing public information about the lack of credibility of this Award, the questions being asked are: Did the Ghana Free Zones Board do due-diligence on BID before recieving the award? Did they pay $3000 or more, to receive the award and who sanctioned the use of taxpayers money to buy some 'phoney' award, and why?

Source: Karim Ahmed
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