Chef Smith, Dr. UN, other Ghanaians who successfully deceived the masses

Many Ghanaians are still perplexed as to why someone who appeared calm and likeable would try to deceive the entire nation in an age where verifying information has become effortless.

Did he truly believe he could escape detection?

Ebenezer Smith garnered nationwide attention recently for falsely claiming to have broken the Guinness World Record (GWR) for the Longest Cooking Marathon. His announcement on July 2, 2024, at La Palm Beach Hotel was swiftly refuted by Guinness World Records, which clarified that they had no record of his attempt.

Chef Smith later confessed to staging the entire scheme while publicly weeping and seeking forgiveness from Ghanaians.

Although this revelation shocked many, Chef Smith is not the first Ghanaian to perpetrate such a scam.

Here is a list of other Ghanaians who succeeded in deceiving a lot of people.

Fauster Atta Mensah

In 2014, Fauster Atta Mensah, a bold and audacious fraudster, was exposed after falsely claiming to have been awarded a Nobel Prize for his alleged scientific achievements.

Mensah’s elaborate deception included creating websites that resembled CNN and Al Jazeera, featuring fabricated content and manipulated images portraying him in a NASA spacesuit and with a purported robotic invention. His scheme garnered national attention, leading government ministries to unwittingly endorse his fictitious accomplishments on their official platforms. Mensah even managed to secure an exclusive prime-time interview on Ghana Television (GTV), during which he deceitfully portrayed himself as a Nobel Prize Laureate, Chairman of the African Computer Society (ACS), and one of Ghana’s youngest scientists to collaborate with NASA.

His scam was uncovered when some journalists started digging into his story and past.

Currently, Mr. Atta Mensah has rebranded himself as Professor John Vinzelts and continues to deceive unsuspecting individuals both within the country and abroad. His new persona not only claims a professorship but also includes a biography stating past affiliations with the United Nations, where he purportedly served as the Country Head of UN Youth Ghana.

John Ackah Blay-Miezah

Born John Kolorah Blay, he became a notorious Ghanaian fraudster credited as a pioneer in advance-fee fraud. Claiming a fictitious net worth of $47 billion, he operated scams from the 1960s to the 1980s, allegedly defrauding victims across North America, Europe, and Asia of over $200 million.
After immigrating to the United States in 1959, Blay-Miezah assumed multiple false identities, including claiming academic credentials from the Wharton School.

Blay-Miezah targeted mostly wealthy Americans, convincing them that he held the exclusive knowledge of millions in gold bars hidden in Switzerland by Ghana’s former president, Kwame Nkrumah. Only he purportedly knew the location and had the means to access it, but he warned of legal and diplomatic hurdles thereby requiring substantial funds.

Upon returning to Ghana in 1963, he faced imprisonment for fraudulent claims involving President Nkrumah. Despite legal repercussions, he persisted in his fraudulent activities. Exposed on the famous tv show, ’60 Minutes’ in 1989, Blay-Miezah died in 1992 under house arrest in Accra. His death sparked legal disputes over his estate, leaving many victims uncompensated.

Kwame Owusu Fodjour

Kwame Owusu Fodjour, also known as Dr. UN, gained notoriety in Ghana after deceiving several public figures into believing his awards were affiliated with the United Nations and the Kofi Annan Foundation.

On August 28, 2020, he organized an award ceremony named the ‘Global Blueprint Excellence Award’ at Accra’s Alisa Hotel.

Dr. UN claimed the awards were backed by the UN and the Kofi Annan Foundation, intended to honor impactful individuals in society. Recipients included University of Ghana’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu; NPP’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Antwi Boasiako also known as Wontumi; Music Producer, D-Black; multiple award winning artist, Sarkodie; media personality, Bella Mundi; then Deputy Minister of Health Oko Boye; Sports Journalist, Nathaniel Attoh, and others.

However, investigations by journalists and Twitter users revealed the awards were fake and lacked any affiliation with the UN or the Kofi Annan Foundation.

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