The Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Ghana Police Service has arrested over 400 persons including pregnant women and foreign nationals within Koforidua and its environs.
According to a report on TV3’s News 360 monitored by GhanaWeb, the operation by the police was targeted at ridding the area of a ponzi scheme operated by Qnet.
According to the report, the company in perpetuating the scheme, recruited hundreds of youths including some from neighbouring Togo, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.
The victims of this scheme are lured with the promise of doubled profits of an investment amount beginning from GHC4,000, and are also coached to recruit others who are then made to extort money from their relatives under the same pretext.
The report said the police intends to hand over victims who are foreign nationals to their various embassies while Ghanaian victims will be reunited with their families.
The police however intend to scrutinize managers of the company and sanction them if found culpable in the dictates of the law.
Under the pretext of giving their victims accommodation for the period of their recruitment, the managers of Qnet are said to have charged the victims extra GHC400 as hostel fees.
The recruits are then camped in rented houses scattered across Koforidua and its environs.
The police, however, said it will sanction landlords who rented out their properties to Qnet managers to serve as a deterrent to others.
Among the victims rescued by the police are pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Starrfm.com.gh in an investigative piece published on March 15, 2021, made some damning revelations about the operations of Qnet in within the Eastern Region.
Read the investigative publication by Starrfm.com.gh on Qnet operations below:
Many Independent Representatives (IRs) in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, operating as agents of the company are using what appears to be deceptive business modules to recruit people as independent representatives.
On the first week of 11th January 2021, Starr News Eastern Regional Correspondent Kojo Ansah initiated investigations into the operations of Qnet agents in Koforidua following complaints of a possible scam.
It was quite difficult establishing the location of at least six Qnet agents operating in parts of Koforidua. They operate in rented bedroom apartments without signposts.
At Koforidua Adweso-Mile 50, an agent was found operating from a walled four-bedroom house. A number of desperate unemployed youth well-dressed with some in suit and tie were found seated under tents in the house. A few minutes later, a self-acclaimed pastor came to worship with them and delivered a motivational message.
Ushered into a room after disguising as potential customer interested in joining the network marketing company, five persons including two (2) ladies were already seated in the room. They had come after an Independent representative introduced the direct selling business to them.
Twenty (20) minutes later, a young man came to the room to introduce the business modules. He first convinced the prospective Independent Representatives about the credibility of the company citing numerous sponsorship packages by Qnet for FIFA, CAF, Manchester City WHO, UNICEF, ECOWAS among others.
He said worthy medical doctors, Journalists, Musicians, Politicians and some rich men in Ghana including Kennedy Agyapong, late former President Jerry John Rawlings were into the business.
He demonstrated that an Independent Representative could get an initial commission of $225 for the first month and as high as $76,725 monthly commission after four years of joining the network marketing company and advertising its products to other customers who also refer others.
A young man who identified himself as Elvis Nelson Ayittey -Manager and Qnet agent, explained that to be registered as an Independent Representative, the individual must buy a form of at least Ghc100 and pay at least Ghc4,200 for the purchase of a product online and additionally pay Ghc400 hostel fee.
He added that after payment, an online dollar account would be created for the individual to receive payment of commission twice daily after referring two others to also purchase a product.
“To join this company, you have to purchase a product before. I hope he mentioned the prices to you. The least priced products are the chi -pendant which is ghc4,200 and the bio-disc is Ghc4,300. There is a way that we can do it for you to secure an account but without. getting the product that is paying ghc2,800. The company operates in 184 countries,42 is in Africa so they use one common platform. So, we are going to create an international account for you so that you can use to get the product. This business is a form of E-commerce so you can do it to attach any work that you do. If you want to come and stay here add just Ghc400 to the amount to make it GH¢4,600 or GH¢4,700,” he said.
“The advertising of the product is not about the number of people that you are going to advertise to. It is a form of teamwork. I started this business 16th of April last year things have changed in my life. I have many people. I have an office at Cape coast. Every week you will get a commission. If you get 60 people under you, you will make $5000 every week. So, try and join. so are you going to fill the form? For the money, you can pay in instalments. The forms are from GH100 upwards,” the manager was captured on tape saying.
Apparently, the Qnet agent has a school attached to the network marketing as new recruits are made to register for online diploma and degree courses allegedly affiliated to Quest International University. He said Diploma and Degree certificates will be awarded depending on the course one pursues.
Quest International University had not replied email sent on January 13, 2021, to verify the genuineness of the alleged affiliation.
At Okorase, a community near Koforidua, where another agent was operating with the same modus operandi, the story was not different. Over a hundred youth were seen on the compound of the alleged Qnet agent going through training after paying huge sums of money to purchase a product online hoping to be registered as an Independent Representative to start earning the supposed commissions as assured.
The next stop this time around, was a house where nationals from West African Countries were similarly operating as Qnet Agents in Okorase.
They are mostly Burkinabe, Nigerians and Malians. The agents convince their victims mostly from Mali and Burkina Faso that they have secured well-paid jobs in Ghana for them.
The victims are asked to pay huge amounts to enable them commence work. After paying the amounts, they are held hostage under the guise of being trained to work online as Qnet Independent Representatives. Mobile phones of the victims are seized to disable them from communicating with their families.
The victims are told to convince two persons each from their respective countries to come to Ghana under the guise of securing job opportunities for them before they could be released. A few days before, Police in Koforidua arrested dozens of West African Nationals at Bornya a suburb of Koforidua after one of the fresh victims escaped from the custody of the agent.
QNET has maintained that it is a direct selling company that provides customers around the world with unique high-quality products and services while giving customers the opportunity to build a sales business by promoting the products. Qnet sells products online to clients.
The company trades products ranging from energy, nutrition, personal care, luxury and collectables, accessories, cosmetics, vehicles, holidays and education among others.
Under its business module, independent representatives” (IRs) of the company receive $250 commission after they introduce the products to six people, placing three people on their left and three people on their right, described as two ‘legs’. When an IR introduces a new customer who then becomes an IR if they so wish, the original IR benefits (by receiving bonus points) from the success of their recruit.
These bonus points build up on only one of the IR’s legs. The IR must then introduce the product for a new customer to purchase it and also become an IR to add up to the monthly commission.
Over 10,000 people working under Qnet in Ghana
Qnet claimed that its network had employed 10,000 people in Ghana who earn between 1,000-10,000 dollars per month.
On 22nd and 23rd February, 2018, Qnet Ghana organized its first-ever Absolute Living Expo which was attended by many stakeholders and the general public. Government agencies such as the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Ministry of Business Development were well represented.
Ghana’s largest business association, the Association of Ghana Industries was also represented at the Expo which took place at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Business Development, Mr. Joe Tackie, representing the Minister for Business Development said: “We are glad to have QNET in Ghana for the long haul. We are also very glad that QNET’s business module supports entrepreneurship. Having being in existence for 20 years and operating in about 100 countries across the world, we believe that Ghanaians will benefit immeasurably from the health, nutritional and entrepreneurial exploits QNET is introducing to Ghana.”
The Head of SME, at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Sampson Abankwa, representing the Minister for Trade & Industry added: “QNET’s entrance into Ghana is opening the space up for more entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth and Ghanaians in general”
Reaction on Findings of the investigation
Qnet Ghana responded to some of the findings in the investigation as follow.
“Okay Qnet is a business company and every business require a starting capital……So for sure, you need capital to start with…. And become a representative….No one get to the top alone teamwork is a key in our business”
On the Quest International University Courses being offered as part of the business module, Qnet Ghana said “Education is part of our business sectors if you meet the requirements you can enroll in any of our Universities…. And start offering a course of your choice through digital platform e-learning”
On Foreign nationals holding people hostage
Qnet Ghana explained that “People From far places organizing themselves confining themselves into rooms are not part of the business model…. But from the understanding of new representative can decide to join hand in hand to find a house to stay in so they can build their business…… Note: Qnet is a Global Business of only you have the understanding you can do business with us from any angle ”.
source: Ghana Web