Saturday, September 8, 2012

Online fraudsters lure Africa job seekers with big pay

Kenyan and other African jobseekers are headed for yet another international recruitment fraud that is promising free training, employment and millions of shillings in salaries.
Global Community Health Partners (GCHP) — a firm that claims to have British certification — has published notices indicating that it is setting up offices in more than 30 countries, including Kenya, and is recruiting staff to run them.
One of the top jobs on offer is that of a project co-ordinator who will lead employees in developing programmes to help the needy, including poverty alleviation.
According to the organisation’s website — — other employees will be trained as community organisers.
Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, South Africa, Sudan, Senegal, Rwanda and Guinea Bissau are some of the African countries where GCHP intends to set up shop.
The health solutions firm also says it plans to open “permanent offices” in Venezuela, India and Turkey.
“GCHP is undertaking a project of a sub-headquarters in some African, Asian, Caribbean and South-American countries and we are set to recruit interested individuals willing to join our team,” says a notice posted on the organisation’s website.
“Applicants will receive training to work as community organisers, helping to improve the home environment and to jump-start healthy habits that will lead to a healthier way of conserving the environment.”

To secure the lucrative jobs, applicants are required to undergo intensive six-month training at the firm’s main offices, located on Interhealth, 111 Westminster Bridge Road in London.
An exchange of emails between the Business Daily and the organisation’s Director of Global Programmes, Becky Brown, revealed that successful applicants are to be flown to London, where they will be housed and fed for six months, at the organisation’s expense.
During their stay in London, the trainees will get a monthly stipend of £1,500 (Sh200,000).
“After the training in United Kingdom, you have the chance of picking a country of your choice that will be convenient for you to work with our organisation,” Ms Brown said in a mail to this writer, who had disguised himself as an interested applicant.
“Our fundamental project now is that we are about to open a sub-headquarter in Nairobi, it will be profiting to us to allocate you to work with our team, which shall be inaugurated in your country next year because you are a citizen of Kenya and you will be a great asset to us.”
But the Kenyan High Commission in UK says the first pointer to the fact that this is a fraud lies in the amount of money being promised in salaries – irrespective of one’s academic qualification or going through an interview.
“The salaries of our registered and trained workers range from £5,000 (Sh665,000) to £8,000 (Sh1.06 million) per month,” said Clement Andrews, the firm’s project co-ordinator, who claims to be operating from an office in Senegal.
Mr Andrews said that successful applicants will only get to meet fellow citizens once they get to London.
Upon further enquiry, he subtly introduced the heart of the fraud — the promise of international travel and a handsome remuneration package.
Applicants are required to wire some money to the project co-ordinator for “processing of your visa and other travelling documents.”
“All you need to do immediately you get this mail, is to go to a nearby Western Union Money Transfer agent to make your payment of the €550 as application processing fee,” said Mr Andrews.
“You can send the money in your local currency, which is exactly Sh65,000 to the address Name: Clement Andrews: Global Community Health Partners Rue 22 x 30 Medina, Dakar-Senegal.”
Mr Andrews says the amount keeps the firm within the requirements for the Federal Laws in the UK and spares it from being investigated for money laundering and human trafficking.
An official at the high commission’s Trade and Investment Department confirmed that GCHP is not a registered organisation in the UK and that the requirements outlined “immediately point to fraud.”
The official, who requested anonymity since he is not authorised to comment on behalf of the high commission, said that the purported recruitment is another case of online fraud that has been growing in recent times, costing unsuspecting Kenyans millions of shillings.
“The three common indicators of fraud are the high amount of remuneration promised, the request to transfer money to an individual as opposed to an institution and the firm says it will handle the visa application process,” the official said.
The High Commission says it cannot flag particular companies names for being linked to fraud since at times fraudsters use names of authentic firms and claim to be acting on their behalf.

The commission’s website, however, has a ‘fraud alert’ page outlining how people can spot and avoid being conned, top among them being that visa processing is always done between the High Commission and the applicant.
A key tip to watch out for according to the webpage is “job offers you did not apply for leading to requests to send money to unknown people for legal, visa, work permit processing.”
Shariff Shahnaz, the Director of Public Health, said fraudsters are behind the organisation, adding that all health recruitments by UK firms are done in collaboration with the government.

Courtesy: Business Daily, Kenya

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