Johannesburg – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Thursday warned of a possible scam that was targeting South African businesses looking to conduct trade and investment with the rest of Africa.
The DTI said a company named “Intergovernmental Development Marketplace (IGDMp)” was circulating a letter to companies inviting them to participate in a Trade Invest Africa initiative at a cost of R7 500. According to the dti, the company falsely claimed that it was running a programme in partnership with the department to assist companies to participate in the Intra-Africa marketplace.
The alleged bogus company also made offers to businesses to be preferred suppliers or contractors to provide goods and services to all African countries in a government-to-government procurement programme.
The DTI said the only initiative tasked with coordinating and implementing South Africa’s economic strategy for Africa and uncovering continental trade negotiations is Trade Invest Africa (TIA).
TIA was launched by DTI minister Rob Davies in July this year.
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Lerato Mataboge, acting chief executive of TIA, said neither the dti nor TIA had entered into any partnership with IGDMp or had had any discussions with the company’s executive director. IGDMp executive director is listed as a Professor Clough Marshall in the letters that were being sent to companies.
“As a government department, we are providing a free service to companies interested in investing in various parts of Africa or conducting trade with other companies from across the continent,” Mataboge said in a statement.
“We are not working with any private company to provide this service. We suspect this is a scam by an unscrupulous group of individuals who are using information from the DTI website, including the logo, to illegally dupe unsuspecting people.”
Mataboge advised companies that had already paid money to the bogus company to report to the police.