By Frederick Asiamah
While the dust is yet to settle on last week’s caution by the Bank of Ghana against the activities of a company called MMM Ghana, Business Day Ghana has discovered that tertiary students are among the company’ primary targets.
In the statement issued by its Public Affairs Directorate, the BoG indicated that “The company, which claims to have over 10,000 clients, moves from place to place and mobilises deposits from the general public.”
Subsequent checks by Business Day Ghana, especially from the website of MMM Ghana and MMM global, have revealed that the Greater Accra and Central regions are two of the major operational locations for the company, which claims to have at 226 million clients in 118 countries, including Ghana.
In particular, the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) have been two of the key institutions where the company has been selling its ideas to students at presentation sessions.
Besides, popular eateries have also been used by the company’s representatives for their presentation sessions.
It appears that many young people have bought into the idea and are tightly hooked to the scheme, which primarily asks clients to deposit money into their system to help other clients and make 30% return on the amount they gave.
To prove that its propositions are true, MMM runs mini windows on its website with crawling messages purportedly coming from beneficiaries. One of such messages is the following posted on 9th May, 2017: “My name is Wise from Accra, a participant of MMM. I provided help of 600gh just about a month and a half ago and after a month, I requested to also get help and requested for everything in my account that has turn green for collection including all my bonuses and too my surprise, my money has grown to become 900gh. I was matched with three persons to pay me the 900gh and just yesterday I received all payments. Am so so happy….MMM pays ! Together we Change the world (sic).”
In its statement issued on Wednesday, May 10th, the BoG said it “wishes to draw the attention of the general public to the activities of a company called MMM Ghana, which is operating a Ponzi scheme through a virtual office.
“The institution’s operations are contrary to section 6(1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) and also threatens the safety and soundness of the financial system.
“The Bank of Ghana wishes to inform the general public that MMM Ghana is NOT LICENSED by the Bank of Ghana to engage in any form of deposit-taking activity, hence anyone who does business with MMM Ghana does so at his or her own risk,” the statement concluded.
The MMM style
One of the first messages that greet a visitor to the MMM website is: “Yes, it is possible to get 30% per month here, but this is not an investment program!”
The company then summarises its goal, stating: “This is a community of ordinary people, selflessly helping each other, a kind of the Global Fund of mutual aid. This is the first sprout of something new in modern soulless and ruthless world of greed and hard cash. The goal here is not the money. The goal is to destroy the world’s unjust financial system. Financial Apocalypse! Before you join, be sure to be acquainted with our IDEOLOGY!”
It also clarifies that “There is no central account in MMM, to collect all the money of participants (and from where they could be stolen easily). All the money transfers are made directly between participants.
“It means that everything is quite clear and honest. MMM plays just a role as some kind of a dispatch, which connect the participants.”