GlobalAdMart Egypt, an e-commerce company that has come under fire from the Ministry of Interior’s Public Funds Investigation (PFI) unit, has denied allegations of fraud on its Facebook page.
During a press conference held last Sunday, head of the PFI Nagah Fawzy announced the arrest of the managers of eight online marketing firms, including GlobalAdMart. Other companies included 2deal, Revolution , Say Your Way, Alliance Continental, My Right Ad, OPES and TV Art Express, he said.
However, the manager of one of GlobalAdMart’s pages on Facebook called on Fawzy “to be more accurate”. The anonymous administrator of the page claimed on 14 May that Fawzy opted to name firms that hold licences from the Chamber of Commerce and chose to leave out unlicenced ones.
In his remarks, the administrator of the Facebook page posted a scanned copy of the company’s establishment licence from India, and a copy of the company’s commercial registration on the website of the Indian government.
“Fawzy is not aware that network marketing is a subject taught in Egyptian universities and is the base of many countries’ economies,” the administrator said.
E-commerce was only recently introduced in the Egyptian market and has picked up steam from the success of a number of companies which rely on the internet and social networks to promote their products, yielding bigger profits quickly and at smaller costs. The profits of other companies like GlobalAdMart depend on users subscribing to view advertisements during a specified time limit and organising training courses in network marketing.
“If electronic marketing is illegal in Egypt as Fawzy claims, then all companies operating in the sector should be banned as the law doesn’t differentiate,” the Facebook page administrator said.
Ahmed Nagi, who is a GlobalAdMart subscriber, claims to be one of the company’s victims. He said he was told by a friend he could make a fixed monthly salary of EGP 4,500 working from home for GlobalAdMart. Nagi said he thought this information was reliable due to his previous experience of working from home in data entry.
“My friend explained GlobalAdMart is an Indian company which makes its money from companies that choose to promote their products through its website rather than airing expensive TV commercials,’’ Nagi said.
Nagi was told by his friend he had to pay fees of EGP 9,900 in advance and would receive no salary for the first month of work. Skeptical of these conditions, Nagi was assured by his friend that the measures were normal and were similar to “placing a deposit when renting a flat”. He added: “I trusted him because he is my friend.’’
Nagi was also told that he would get a commission for every person who subscribed to the website through his work. He was given a $32 commission for each person he convinced to join the website in addition to other benefits as his subscriptions grew, and he had soon made EGP 10,000.
“It was rolling. I invited five friends who in turn each invited 5 others and money was coming in,” he said. “Suddenly, the company halted its operations and none of the newcomers or me received any money.” Nagi and his friends then decided to file a lawsuit against the company. He could not get in touch with the person who had recommended GlobalAdMart to him.
Waleed Abdel Fatah, another recent subscriber, praised the operations of GlobalAdMart and described the fraud allegations as “false propaganda”. He said that the company’s operations have been halted until 27 May on the orders of the Ministry of Interior and therefore the fears of those who rushed to file lawsuits against GlobalAdMart are baseless.
Abdel Fatah was only told to pay registration fees of $500, about EGP 3,485, as opposed to the EGP 9,900 which Nagi paid.
Romani Gamil Amin, is another subscriber who made profits from working with GlobalAdMart. “I went into this thinking it was an adventure, but I soon found it was a lucrative business,” he said. He said that a large number of his friends and relatives had joined the company and made a profit.
State-run news agency MENA reported on Tuesday that the Public Prosecutor ordered the arrest of Salma Hamdeen Sabahy, daughter of former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy, for twenty-four hours pending investigations as she faces accusations of fraud. Local media outlets had previously linked Sabahy to GlobalAdMart, while MENA reported that 22 complaints have been filed against her.