The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has hauled the directors and shareholders of an illegal cryptocurrency firm – Global Coin Community Help – before an Accra High Court.
The company is said to be an institution operating under a false name, even though it has not been licensed to operate by the Bank of Ghana or the Securities and Exchanges Commission.
According to the anti-graft body, the suspects have defrauded over 3,000 unsuspected ‘investors’ who have pumped millions of Ghana Cedis into the company’s activities.
They have succeeded in collecting a whopping GH¢47,239,000 from their depositors and have dissipated the amount within the one year of their operation.
EOCO has blocked another GH¢3,700,000 in another account with the Ghana Commercial Bank.
Kwaku Damate Kumi and David Opatey (directors of the company) and some three other shareholders of the firm are facing a total of 51 charges, including defrauding by false pretences.
They have pleaded not guilty to all the 51 charges against them and their lawyers prayed the court to grant them bail while the trial commences.
Lead counsel for EOCO, Charles Ofori did not oppose the bail application but prayed the court to make the bail terms stringent to compel the accused persons to appear anytime they are needed.
The court presided over by Justice Joyce Mensah granted the accused persons bail in the sum of GH¢80 million with two sureties each. They are to reappear on March 19, 2019.
According to the facts presented to the court, Global Coin Community Help was granted license on October 2, 2017, to operate under the objects of real estate development, transportation services, e-commerce, e-trading, mobile money services, among others.
It said the company, however, went into deposit-taking for investment purposes in breach of the object clause of company and the law.
According to the facts, Global Coin Community Help was intentionally set up by the accused persons as a front company and falsely presented to the public that they were licensed to carry out deposit-taking business when they knew they had not been authorised to do so.
“For just one year, Global Coin Community Help received GH¢43,239,000 from victims/depositors and the accused persons have dissipated the said amount. However, an amount of GH¢3,700,000 which is currently being held in an account at Ghana Commercial Bank Limited has been preserved on orders of a court,” according to the facts.
The facts said investigations revealed that Global Coin Community Help was just a sham under the guise of trading in crypto currency online to defraud unsuspecting depositors/customers when indeed they were dealing in deposit-taking in violation of banking laws of the country.
According to EOCO, the company also failed to pay tax on its activities between 2017 and 2018 after taking GH¢43,239,000 from its customers.
The facts added that the company took an average deposit of GH¢25,000 from its unsuspecting customers.