Over 119 thousand Ghanaians duped in Ponzi schemes in 2018
Data from the Bank of Ghana has revealed that nearly 119, 300 people lost their investments to four Ponzi schemes in 2018.
That excludes victims of Menzgold.
The victims lost a total of GH¢59,568,000.
The companies that were used to dupe the unsuspecting customers include, Savannah Brokerage Investment Limited, Bitworld Investments Limited, FX Crypto Trading and Global Coin Community Help (GCCH)
Based on the data, Global Coin Community Help Scheme recorded the highest number of victims with 110,000 people.
The victims lost GH¢46,869,043.49.
This is followed by Savanah Brokrage Investment Limited which saw 9, 172 victims losing GH¢12,096,000.
A hundred people lost 500,000 through Bitworld Investments Limited, while 28 people lost GH¢103,200 through FX Crypto Traders.
The victims include, professors, students, market women, politicians, Teachers, police and Military officers and pastors, among others.
The regulators of the financial sector including the Bank of Ghana and the Securities and Exchange Commission have come under intense pressure to help the victims retrieve their money.
However, without any provision in Ghana’s Criminal Act, which deals with Ponzi and pyramid schemes, analysts have expressed fear if the perpetrators could be made to face the law.
Although government has announced that steps are being taken to curb the situation, it has insisted victims must take responsibility for failing to do due diligence before investing their money.
“If you decide to put your money in any investment scheme, you must bear the risk. You can’t say government should come and bail you out from that risk you have taken. Then there will be some sorts of irresponsibility and no form of accountability,” Setor Amediku Head of Payment Systems at the BoG stated at a public lecture organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
The Securities and Exchange Commission says although it is working assiduously to curb the trend, it is constrained due to several factors including financial constraints.
“We don’t have effective regulations to deal with Ponzi schemes. Financial literacy is key but the problem is that we don’t have money as a regulator and our financial system architecture has lapses which needs to be redefined,” noted Emmanuel Ashong-Katai, Head of Policy Research and IT at the SEC.
Ponzi scheme is an investment with various characteristics.
First, Operators promise high returns on investments.
Secondly, the perpetrators normally mount pressure on victims to invest in their packages.
The companies mostly do not save with banks or have bank accounts with registered names.
They rather use victims’ money for other assets including flushy cars and houses which are normally not registered in their names.
With the increase in such schemes across the world some countries including South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia have all enacted separate legislation to deal with Ponzi and Pyramid schemes.