I would like to take this opportunity to warn fellow British exporters about a latest fraud tactic used by fraudsters based in West Africa which which targets manufacturers of
the British/EU food products. The emails starts from an email that is sent to a British manufacturer by a trading company
from Africa (Benin in particular) showing interest in British/European food products. Once you respond to these emails, they say that the respondent claims to be a distribution company dealing in speciality food and would like to distribute your products in Benin. They also ask you to send product samples, catalgoues and prices to them for evaluation. After they receive your samples they send you an email saying that the samples have been approved and there is a great demand for your products in emerging markets of West Africa. They commit a
business of more than £1 million a year. However they inform you that to sell any food products in Benin one needs to register the relevant products with local health authorities. They suggest a legal firm specialising in FDA registration in Benin that will do this registration for US$2500 per product. As exporters to West Africa know that similar rules exist in Nigeria (NAFDAC), companies don't doubt this procedure and end up sending US$2500 to this product registration facilitation company. You don't hear back from these people after that. I suspected this was a con
because the company I was talking to in Benin as a potential importer kept pressuring me to remit US$2500 to the legal firm by western union without which they couldn't place a confirmed order. I did some research on the internet and saw several embassies
based in Benin were advising exporters from their respective countries of similar cons on their Embassy trade blogs. I hope British food exporters don't fall prey to this latest scam.
Rahul Kale - Director International Business Typhoo Tea Limited