Ghana, A hub for internet fraudsters?
Abdul Salam Sule, Ghanadot
Accra, March 23, Ghanadot - Ghana is well respected
in the eyes of the international community and the
world at large, especially when it comes to the
practice of democracy. It is seen as a beacon of
hope which many African countries with young
democracies look up to.
But there is a disturbing issue which has the
potential of denting the image of the country and
for that matter its citizens and it is the problem
of cyber crime.
Statistics indicate that Ghana is ranked 10th in
Africa on the growth of internet usage. In the light
of this however, Ghana is also ranked 10th in the
world as a top internet crime perpetuator. This
indeed is very disquieting considering the negative
impact it would have on the country.
Investigations conducted by Ghanadot revealed that,
across the nation, this level of fraud persisted but
two areas stand out conspicuous, namely Sweduro in
the Central Region and Accra New Town in the Greater
The Sweduro lads hit it much bigger by robbing the
super-rich Europeans and Americans, while their New
Town counterparts trail them.
Known at Sweduro as PEN-PAL BOYS, and the Accra New
Town as SAKAWA BOYS, the internet fraudsters range
from as young as 10 years upwards to an average of
The young boys who engaged in this nefarious
activities usually pretend to be ladies
on the Internet to serve
as bait to lure their victims who they referred to
With faulty English and amateurish manner of typing
lusty, romantic words, they have
so far been able lure their victims into exposing
their bank accounts, some accounts of which they
have been milk dry.
Ghanadot investigations further unearthed the fact
that, one significant thread ran
through the operations of these fraudsters. It
emerged that, almost all of them
said they had spiritual backing
which enabled them to entice their victims.
According to them, they have been
able with swift alacrity
to secure the full names of their
victims and their dates of brith,
information necessary for
spiritual grand master and
backer to able to
cast spell on the victims.
Some of these fraudsters
revealed to Ghanadot reproter
that they were willing to exhange their lives for
chance to get rich quickly through this scheme.
The SAKAWA or PENPAL BOYS, are
noted to spend their illgotten gains at lavish
parties and fuenrals with girls of similar shady
At Sweduro and Accra New Town, they drive the
flashiest 4-wheel drives in town and
have become clients of
sophisticated car garages dotted around the cities
thereby displacing in favor the drug traffickers
who used to be the
prefered clients of these garages.
The widespread of internet fraud can be attributed
to multiplicity of factors.
First is the get-rich-quick attitude that has
obsessed many of the youth. Secondly, the lack of
adequate jobs for the youth has also contributed to
As the saying goes, the devil finds something for
the idle. Thus, some of the boys who have entangled
themselves in this criminal and nefarious activity
have done so against the backdrop that there are no
jobs to employ them and must survive to make ends
Peer pressure is also another
factor as many youth who find themselves in
this dangerous game are not in by their own
volition, but by the pressure exerted on them by
friends in the trade.
There is no denying the fact that the SAKAWA
phenomenon is swiftly catching on
with the youth of this country
at an alarming rate
that should give cause for worry.
Childre who would one day be leaders of the country
are being exposed to the crime at an alarming rate.
Speaking on how to combat the internet crime, the
Public Relations officer of the Ghana Police
Service, DSP Kwasi Ofori, said, since an equally
good people are using the internet to access their
information, it is very difficult to track these
"In this regard, useful information from the general
public about people who engage in such acts can be
relayed to the law enforcement agencies for prompt
action to be taken", he advised.
DSP Kwasi Ofori has also advised owners of the
internet cafes to owe it as a duty to ensure that
they report people who use their facilities to carry
out criminal practices.
"They should bear in mind that ignorance of the law
will not become an excuse in the event that
criminals are busted in their cafes. They will also
be subjected to strict interrogation by the police",