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19.09.2005 General News

Minister heads 'sham' organization

By Chronicle
Minister heads  'sham' organization
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... Ghana-UK Business Devt Forum was a scam... Fleeces customers & shuts down... Deputy Minister of Finance involved IRATE VICTIMS of an elaborate scam operating as an NGO are heading for court to take on the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Abubakar Saddique Boniface, who is chairman of the 'sham' organization, Industrial Pinnacle Africa Network, which has fleeced them after sucking them into a scheme that has netted them millions of cedis and foreign exchange though the directors have fled the country. Also under potential threat of action is the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Osei Akoto, who is on the board of the runaway organisation/NGO, whose directors have since fled the country. The Chronicle gathered that the presence of Hon. Boniface and his colleague Minister, Dr. Osei Akoto, on the Advisory Board lent credibility to the Ghana-UK Business Forum, organized by the NGO to milk the hundreds of business entrepreneurs. Many bogus organization have sprung up and are doing brisk business in these expos and trade fairs, luring unsuspecting and gullible Ghanaians. Investigation have revealed that hundreds of business entrepreneurs who doled out millions of cedis to the Industrial Pinnacle Awards, initially known as Industrial Pinnacle Africa Network, are licking their wounds from the blow done to their finances both at home and abroad. Hon. Boniface Abubakar has denied any knowledge of how monies were collected from the business entrepreneurs for the programme, though he confirmed the story when contacted by this reporter last week. He expressed concern about the situation. “I am young upcoming man. I actually do not know how monies were paid. I can assure you that I am not aware of anything of the sort,” he said in an interview with this paper. As to what he has done about the case since he was the chairman, the Minister said after he heard about the matter, he decided to follow it up, but little did he know that the CEO was out of town and the company was also closed down. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NGO is Mr. S.Y. Akron-Botsway, with Hon. Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, former Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, as the chairman of the advisory board. Another high powered Minister, Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto, Deputy Minister of Finance, is also a member of the board with a host of others, though the CEO himself is currently on the run after he had promised to refund the millions of cedis he received from the people. Investigations conducted by the paper revealed that some of the 'investors' were sucked into a Ghana-UK trip for the awards but it bounced, and the hundreds of business entrepreneurs who stormed the offices after that, learnt that the huge sums of money they had deposited had vamoosed. The directors had absconded, with only the Ministers as the remaining legitimate targets of their ire and frustrations. Interestingly, the CEO who had promised to pursue the directors for the money for repatriation, gave undertakings to the police at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the Police Headquarters, but shortly thereafter, did a runner. According to reports, in an attempt by the Industrial Pinnacle Awards to woo the Ghanaian business entrepreneurs, they hosted an awards night dubbed “Pinnacle Awards”, which lured the awards-crazy Ghanaian. Many reputable organizations and individuals, including government functionaries, were given awards for their supposed contributions to business and industry in Ghana. This paper has gathered that Mr. Akron-Botsway, who was invited by the Visa Fraud Unit of the CID of the Police, has not be found in the country and his company has also been closed down with all the workers laid off. In his promise letter to some of his pursues through the CID caption “Refund of Participation fee Ghana-UK Business forum”, Mr. Akron-Botsway said, “Industrial Pinnacle Africa Network hereby promised to refund the participation fee paid ——for the Ghana-UK Business forum held in the UK from 21st-24th October ….” This paper can report that Mr. Akron-Botsway parted with some monies to the police but is now on the run. The Police headquarters confirmed the story and expressed shock about the unfolding events. The plans to allegedly 'defraud' companies started when there was an advert in the Daily Graphic last year about a Ghana-UK Business Development Forum, scheduled to take place from 21st-24th October that year. The Ghana-UK Business Development Forum was a transfer of technologies forum instituted by the Industrial Pinnacle Africa Network in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and President's Special Initiative, Ministry of Private Sector Development, Ministry of Science, Ministry of Education, CSRI, GIPC, GEPC, NBSSI, AGI and others. This paper can report that over 84 companies subscribed. Each company or individual was to pay US$2,200, while others paid in pound sterlings, with a non-refundable fee of US$300.00 and all the companies presented had at least two representatives at the forum to exhibit their products. Mr. Jonathan Ofori, who described himself as a cousin of the CEO confirmed that monies were paid for the trip but unfortunately the trip could not come on. He said currently, Mr. Akron-Botsway was out of Ghana.

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