Fraud Alerts for Canadian Companies - Doing Business in Ghana
Ghana is Canada’s second largest market in Sub-Saharan Africa for merchandise exports after South Africa. With an average GDP growth of 6% over the last four years, Ghana’s economy has been booming. This has led to the expansion of the economy and created a need for rapid expansion of the country’s infrastructure. Opportunities exist in Roads, Industrial, Commercial & Residential construction, Energy, Services & Manufacturing.
Several Canadian companies have successfully transacted business with Ghanaian companies. However, in recent months, there has been an increase in scams emanating from Ghana targeting Canadian companies. In a bid to address the increasing amount of scams emanating from Ghana, the Trade Commissioner Service has identified some of their common traits:
- The fraudsters sometimes profess that they have won a bid on behalf of the Canadian company. They usually refer to themselves as “Tender Awarding Committees”. Such bids normally involve large sums of money.
- Some of these scam artists make their offer look credible by providing fake certificates awarding tenders and give strict deadlines of acceptance, forcing the companies to act quickly.
- Canadian companies are asked to transfer a lot of money through Western Union to cover the registration fees or the cost of tendering documents and can sometimes reach as high as $1500 which is typically 10 times the normal cost of tendering documents at a cost of $100-500 in Ghana
- The fraudsters use names of well-know government officials to add credibility to their schemes. Such officials usually have no relation with the said projects.
- Wrong street addresses are given and cellular phone numbers are used as the official phone lines of these non existent entities. Most well established companies in Ghana have landline numbers in addition to cellular phone numbers.
- The fraudsters also request a lot of personal and/or corporate information (e.g. letters on company letterhead, bank details, passport information, etc.).
Canadian companies must always act cautiously in such situations and contact the Trade Commissioner Service in Ghana before pursuing such leads. The Trade Commissioners will provide you with market intelligence; they will verify the requests and offer useful advice. This may save you and your company a lot of money, time and grief.
In addition to the services offered by the Trade Commissioner Service in Ghana, you will find on our website a list of service providers who can assist in diverse ways, such as conducting due diligence on local companies. The Trade Commissioners at the High Commission of Canada to Ghana are ready to assist you in doing business safely and correctly. Do not hesitate to contact us.
Updated July 2011