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An ongoing recruitment scam, which began in January this year, has seen a number of desperate job seekers falling victim to it.
The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations puts the number of victims in their hundreds.
“Since January, scores of disappointed youth have been trooping to the ministry to lodge complaints; they are in their hundreds, and they keep coming almost every day to make reports,” the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Mr Osei-Opoku Gyamfi, disclosed to the Daily Graphic last Friday.
He said although the ministry had issued a disclaimer to that effect, it kept receiving victims who went to the place to enquire about their job placements.
He said victims of the scam claimed they paid between GH¢800 and GH¢1,500 to the suspected scammers through mobile money. Mr Gyamfi said the ministry was collaborating with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service and other security agencies to investigate the scam.
“We have involved the CID, the National Investigations Bureau (NIB) and the Ministry of Communications to look into the issue and bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.
He said efforts were, therefore, being made to locate the people at the centre of the suspected scam.
On August 5, 2021, Mr Gyamfi said, the ministry’s attention was drawn to a misleading news item circulating on some social media platforms and online media outlets by the suspected fraudsters in their attempt to swindle more job seekers.
The publication, under the heading: ‘Administrative officers upcoming interview’, instructed job seekers to purchase an inspection voucher PIN at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations at the Ministries enclave, Accra, from August 6, 2021 to attend an administrative interview and orientation.
As a result of the development, he said, the ministry had to issue three disclaimers on separate occasions when the issue came to its attention. The ministry, in one such disclaimer, said it “categorically disassociates itself from the false and misleading news item, as the information is fraudulent and malicious”.
It explained that the ministry was not a recruiting body and urged the public to disregard any job offer information purported to be from the ministry.
One of the victims of the scam with whom the Daily Graphic spoke said the scammers, using false publications, indicated that applicants would be offered civil service jobs, but such recruitments were done online by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service.He said the publication came with a contact, which most of the victims used to link up with the scammers, and they (victims) were directed to pay their money into a mobile money account.
In May 2004, a similar scam hit the same ministry, with close to 400 young people being affected.
The victims, who were made to register to work in hotels in the US for a year, paid US$1,000 each, in addition to a GH¢50 non-refundable interview fee, to an official at the labour office where the exercise was carried out.
However, after almost a year, none of the applicants went on the programme and their moneys were not refunded.
Following reports by some of the victims, national security got involved, and the woman at the centre of the scam, identified as Lizelle Bortha, and her accomplice, Fred Avornyo, were arrested.