By Agnes Ansah .
Out of the 44,522 estimated population in Nsawam, about 22,000 of them are victims of the Global Help Community Coin crypto-currency saga.
An interview with some inhabitants in the town revealed that more than half of the Nsawam population took part in the ponzi scheme that has become a topic for discussions.
A Daily Graphic report on November 27 revealed that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) were on a manhunt for the directors and operators of a crypto-currency syndicate, who have swindled more than 3,000 people off their deposits.
The Directors, whose names were given as Mr Kwaku Damete Kumi and Mr David Opatey, were said to have absconded with more than GH¢4 million of depositors’ funds, the paper reported.
But, a visit to the community by The Chronicle indicated that people invested as much as GH¢17 billion, with the majority of them residents of Nsawam.
This was because the business originated from Nsawam before spreading to other parts of the country, including Tarkwa, Obuasi, Kumasi, and parts of the Volta and Greater Accra regions.
The situation, as some inhabitants told The Chronicle, had destroyed relationships between families and friends, with some being sent to prison.
It has also halted some business activities pushing some people to their early graves.
One of the victims, a teacher at the Anglican C School said: “Nsawam is very hot and silent at the same time. People are weeping silently, praying and hoping that their monies would be given to them back.”
He indicated he was able to convince only 20 people to join because he didn’t start the business as early as his other colleagues. But, he was of the view that lots of people were involved in the business.
“I can tell you that more than half of the people in this town were involved in that business. I got to know when the issues started,” he said.
Unlike this teacher, Kwame, an online marketer who resides at the Cannery Quarters in the town, told The Chronicle that he referred 150 people, who are family and friends to the company.
He indicated that he was able to convince all those people to join the business due to the returns he got from the beginning.
He said he invested GH¢5,000 and recouped GH¢4,050 in just three months, hence, he convinced others to join.
“So if some tells you that you can make so much money in just a short time, you will definitely invest in it,” he said.
“Most of the people I brought on board were able to recoup 80 to 90 percent of their deposits,” he indicated.
“The only issue I have is with the few people who invested their monies and didn’t get their deposits, and even profits out of it.”
A group of 70 people, including teachers and health workers, who also pooled resources to invest GH¢17 billion into the business, said they regretted making such an investment.
According to one member of the group, they didn’t recoup anything before the collapse of the business.
He said: “I pray and hope that our deposits would be refunded to us to restore peace.”
A teacher at the Father Waggers School, who also fell prey to the ponzi scheme, told The Chronicle that he cannot go back to his hometown unless he refunds the money.
He indicated that due to the lucrative nature of the business from the beginning, he convinced his family heads to sell some family assets worth GH¢100,000 in order to invest in the business.
“After we invested that money into the business, we heard that the Director is nowhere to be found,” he said.
He said his family members were demanding their money, and it was making him unable to visit them.
“It’s almost Christmas, I should be preparing to go home, but now I can’t go, because I don’t have the money they are requesting for.”
Where and how it started
Some of the victims who spoke to the paper indicated that the business started from a hairdressing salon owned by Mrs Dametey, wife of Mr Dametey, at the Cannery Quarters before it moved to Ntowkuma, near the Government Hospital at Nsawam.
The modus operandi of the scam was 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.
But, with the interest pegged at 27 percent, depositors would be able to recoup their initial deposits within a period of four months, and the remaining months becomes profit for them.
Mr Dametey, unable to pay the interest and the principal, 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 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.