Coastweek <Mombasa; Kenya>..09/10/10
By Alex Boateng ACCRA (Xinhua) -- The Ghana Chamber of Mines announced here on Thursday that it had uncovered a scam involving a firm that had been using the name and corporate logo of Goldfields Ghana limited, one of its member companies, to dupe foreign gold buyers.
These criminals lured their unsuspecting victims with offers of gold dust and bars produced in Ghana, the chamber said in a statement.
It urged the public to report any fraudsters to the police for actions, saying that:
"Anyone who receives a notification for the sale of gold dust or gold bars purported to be coming from Goldfields Ghana limited or any other mining company should not only disregard the said offers but also report the incident to the police."
Reiterating that its members were committed to good corporate governance practices, the chamber made it clear that "in the sale of gold our members do not seek out individual buyers or users."
Gold is one of the major foreign exchange earners of the West African country, formerly known as Gold Coast.
The Ghana Chamber of Mines is the main minerals industry association in Ghana, representing the collective interests of companies involved in mineral exploration, production and processing in the country.
Fraudsters and con artists have for some time invaded the gold industry and were using the internet and e-mail to dupe prospective gold buyers.
Perpetrators of business fraud in Ghana, especially the prevalent gold scams, often target foreigners.
Several foreign businessmen had reportedly been defrauded in diverse ways as a result of the activities of the fraudsters.
Gold merchants, who claim to be in possession of large quantities of gold dust or gold bars, offer to sell them below market prices.
These fraudsters like to tell their business partners that they had jewelry shops all over Europe and wanted them to buy gold from Ghana.
Most of them also advertise the availability of the commodity in bulk quantities for sale on the internet and other specially and carefully designed websites.
In Ghana, all gold agents must be licensed and transactions certified by the precious minerals marketing company before businesses are transacted.
Gold is normally sold in Ghana in the smelted form, that is bars, and very rarely in the dust form.
American businessmen have reported substantial financial losses from questionable transactions involving gold and other precious metals in Ghana in recent years, according to the U.S. Department of State.
These scams typically begin with an unsolicited communication (usually by e-mail) from an unknown individual who describes a situation that promises quick financial gain, often by assisting in the transfer of a large sum of money or valuables out of the country.
A series of "advance fees" must be paid in order to conclude the transaction, such as fees to open a bank account or to pay certain taxes.
The final payoff does not exist, and the purpose of the scam is simply to collect colossal amount of money from the victim.