The Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service is investigating circumstances under which Ghana was robbed of huge sums of revenue following gold export proceeds of over $2.3 billion which were not repatriated into the country.
The proceeds which relate to only the year 2016, were not repatriated into the country, as required by the laws of Ghana, the Daily Statesman reports.
The situation may have enriched some unscrupulous gold dealers, particularly Indians and Chinese, as well as, their Ghanaian collaborators, the newspaper reports.
The Association of Gold Exporters of Ghana, an umbrella body of local small-scale gold exporters had earlier in the year, made some allegations of some dubious business deals, including alleged money laundering, by Indians, Chinese and other foreign nationals.
Some management and board members of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company were said to have connived with some of the foreign nationals.
“PMMC is exporting gold on behalf of third parties and these guys are not bringing the money back and this is creating a huge vacuum within the sector. PMMC, no matter how much they ship, they don’t repatriate one percent,” Asante Asare, leader of the AGEG, alleged.
About 145 exporting companies, many having foreign ownership, were said to have engaged in their alleged fraudulent businesses using the PMMC as a conduit, with Ghanaians allegedly fronting for them.
The paper also alleged that officials in the Mahama administration under whose tenure the loss was incurred had allowed the illegal activity to go on because they were beneficiaries of the scam.
The Bank of Ghana has since suspended the PMMC from shipping gold out of the country.
The PMMC Managing Director, Kojo Opare Hammond told Accra-based Citi FM that the BoG has been asked to look into the banking details of the 145 companies, “but it looks like up till now, they have not even been able to trace the bank accounts of some of these companies.”
“What is making it alarming is that in one year, that amount of Gold was shipped through of PMMC alone” he noted further, as an indication that the losses extend beyond 2016.
“There is no record to indicate that [any money was returned]. In fact, the Bank of Ghana is still on us asking for more information that will help them to even find out where these companies are so that at least they can ask them to come and pay what they were supposed to pay but didn’t come back. Unfortunately, many of them have not been traced.”
He said that these companies are supposed to be owned by Ghanaians “but a lot of them probably had some foreigners behind them in doing this.”