In December 2011, the attention of the Bank of Ghana was drawn to the operations of Onward Investment Limited, a company which took deposits from the public and ostensibly engaged in on-line foreign exchange trading. The company, which operated branches in Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani and Techiman, initially offered interest rates of 25% for a trading cycle of 42 days. In December 2011, the interest rate was raised to 35% as a special Christmas bonanza.
The company has never been licensed by the Bank of Ghana either to take deposits or to engage in foreign exchange trading.
As the company’s operations were unauthorized, they constituted a serious danger to the public. The company was therefore directed to cease operations and refund all deposits taken. The company ignored the directives of Bank of Ghana and continued to operate. The activities were consequently reported to the Police, who proceeded to arrest three officials of the company on January 11, 2012. The arrested officials are assisting the Police in their investigations.
The Bank of Ghana wishes to assure the public that it is collaborating with the Police to identify any assets of the company and the extent of the liabilities so as to determine the possibility of refunds to customers of the company from any recovered assets.
The Bank appeals to the investors in the scheme to exercise restraint while the law enforcement agencies pursue other officials of the company and the funds they have taken from the public.
The public should note that interest rates, equivalent to over 300 per cent per annum, such as those offered by the company, are not realistic and therefore not sustainable. Accordingly, the Bank of Ghana advises the public to desist from dealing with unauthorized financial institutions, especially those that offer very high interest rates such as was the practice with Onward Investment Ltd.
The public is advised further that where they are in doubt about the legality or otherwise of a financial institution they should check with the Banking Supervision Department of the Bank of Ghana or visit the Bank’s website – www.bog.gov.gh – for a list of all authorized banks and non-bank financial institutions.