US citizen exposes Gold fraud game by DTB International 

A United States Citizen and Chief Executive Officer of the Gold Trade Corporation Ltd which is registered in Hong Kong as a gold buying Company by the name of Michael Shelton is presently in a disturbed mood after encountering the bitter taste of what he referred to as a “fake” gold Company known as DTB international Sl. Ltd. Shelton who has been purchasing gold in a host of countries including the USA, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Nairobi without facing any problem but was recently baptized here in Sierra Leone after he got himself involved with the DTB international headed by the owner and CEO, Mr. Mohamed A Turay for some bars of gold.

Micheal Shelton and Mohamed A Turay of DTB International in Sierra Leone

According to Shelton, the arrangement between him and Mr. Turay was to pay for 3kg and carry 3kg to be paid later after final assay in America and DTB was to send a travel representative with the inventory. In a letter written to Standard Times, he explained that “the total payment for 3kg inventory was to be $84,000 or $28,000 per 1kg to DTB while the GGDO fee’s to be 3% of market value on 6kg.  An amount of $7,400 USD was paid and an export fee’s to be 2% of market value on 6kg while $5,000 was paid for such.

He said about $1,200 was agreed for grease money to get inventory processed at the GGDO and NMA to make flight schedule and after completing all the payments the inventory was locked up back in Mohamed’s safe. 

Mohamed Turay from the DTB International denied any wrong doing after he was contacted by this reporter to get his side of the story. He said let Shelton go to any legal court or Police station and make complain. He said Shelton does not even believe or trust his lawyers in Sierra Leone.

Read excerpt letter of Shelton to Standard times. More details in our subsequent editions

“Hi my name is Michael Shelton.  I’m the CEO of Gold Trade Corporation Limited, a Hong Kong based gold buying company.  For the last decade, I’ve purchased gold all over the world including: USA, Philippines, Malaysia, Nairobi, Sri Lanka and now Sierra Leone.  Out of all these countries mentioned, I’ve never experienced anything like what I just went through in Sierra Leone this last week, January 23, 2019.

In our long and comprehensive search to find a reputable gold dealer in Sierra Leone, I happened to come across a company called DTB International (SL) LTD.   The CEO, Mohamed A. Turay, and I began a dialog regarding the purchase of gold 1kg bars.  Within a few days we had an agreement to buy 3kg of gold bars and have an additional 3kg gold bars on layaway to be paid for after refining and settlement in the USA.

DTB International (SL) LTD

Owner/CEO – Mohamed A. Turay

30 Nelson Lane

Tengbeh Town, Freetown

Sierra Leone

Mob: +323 99 306245 / +232 76 144177

Tel: +232 22 240151

Email :

Email :

More on DTB and Mohamed Turay later…

My team and I spent over 1 year completing a comprehensive due diligence study on Sierra Leone on how to go about acquiring gold legally.  From my experience, this due diligence process would normally take only a few weeks to complete in most countries.

Why did the due diligence take so long to complete? 

Every step of the way, we ran into crooks, conmen, criminals and thieves that failed our inspection process.  The conmen were people representing themselves as sellers, official GGDO representatives, Licensed Exporters, NMA officials and unlicensed operators.  It seems there are more conmen than real business people doing legitimate gold commerce. 

Here is a great example:

This hosted website claims to be an official GGDO site.  We spent a few weeks trying to understand the actual process to buy and export gold.  Again, this was another scam set up to lure investors in to giving them funds to acquire gold.  and

Another individual example is a women named Harriet who claimed she could bring gold from the provinces. We asked for a sample and she agreed.  We asked for a 2 ounce sample (62.2 grams or 311 carats).  We sent her $2,400 USD via money gram.  And as expected it took many days to receive the sample.  To our surprise she sent only 5 grams or 25 carats, which is only 8% of the total gold purchased.  This is where Harriet’s excuses started to come in.  She claimed she was too scared to ship it all at once.  Over the next many weeks, we continued to talk about buying large quantities.  She continued to tell us she was going to send the remaining 57.2 gram or 286 carats.  Of course, it never arrived.

One of the first steps in the due diligence process is to find reputable sellers and to have price discovery conversations.  You have to identify and evaluate all the possible risks involved in order to understand the potential return.  If the risk is too high and the price is too close to market rate, then the economics don’t allow you to operate profitably.  The 2 most important due diligence steps are being able to get cash into a country and being about to get inventory safely and legally out of a country.  If either of these are not possible then there is no need to continue with the due diligence.

Carrying cash to Sierra Leone is easy, however, it isn’t recommended.  Follow the procedures and you can bring plenty of money to buy gold. 

Carrying gold out of Sierra Leone is not so easy and it’s not so clear on how to do it legally.  As a buyer you have almost no rights to buy gold.  If you want to buy gold in Sierra Lone you have to find a licensed gold dealer and you have to find a licensed exporter.  The GGDO process is wrought with process flow problems that create opportunities for fraud to be committed.  It provides NO protection for the investor.  And it provides all sorts of legal advantage to the GGDO Export Licensed company.  The GGDO process is remarkably antiquated and the employees are not well trained.  You can read many examples of fraud taking place with individual investors either having their final GGDO box being replaced with sand by the Licensed Exporter or by previous GGDO employees. This is due to the law stating that the exporter must retain the box of gold for two or three days after the initial assay and sealing of the box.  The investor doesn’t have the legal right to hold his gold that he just prepaid the taxes on.  Kind of hard to believe, right? It’s hard to imagine that you get to watch your gold be assayed, packed up in a GGDO box and then handed off to a Licensed Exporter for 2 to 3 days while you wait for government agencies to process export paperwork.  Would you trust your baby with some unknown people for 3 days?  Why does the SL law give the rights to the Licensed Exporter to hold the gold even after the investors have paid the government taxes?  Oh, and there is another key point that the GGDO requires, it is something called INFLO.  You must have a bank account with sufficient funds in it to do business.  Ooops another legal loophole for the criminals to operate and not turn over your gold to you……there are a number of other issues with the GGDO but this highlights two gaping problems where the balance of legal power and possession belongs to the Licensed Exporters. 

Here is some food for thought on the GGDO:  A few months back the country welcomed a new president.  This new president is trying to stamp out corruption, crooks, conmen, criminals and other illegal activities that dissuade foreign investment from coming to Sierra Leone.  This is good, right?  I was told when I was at the GGDO last week, that they cleared out a number of the employees that were involved in illegal activities a few months back.  This is good and it’s some progress to improve and maybe that’s why my GGDO experience was of such poor quality.  The new employees are still learning the process.  Ah the process…’s my belief that the GGDO process was written a while ago and it may have been written by the conmen and criminals that were in official government office at the time to enable all of these conmen to fleece unsuspecting investors. If all the power in the process resides with the Export License holder and the investor has no rights until final inspection, the process allows crooks to operate within the system to take advantage and fleece the foreign investors.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s my belief that previous government officials built a system to enable criminal activity.

The GGDO must look at how they conduct each step of the process and refine it.  In 2018 they only processed 140 kilo’s of gold.  This is tiny compared to the amount that is being produced and smuggled out of your country. So why is so little gold going through the GGDO for tax processing?  Well maybe because the taxes are too high, maybe because there are more criminals with Export Licenses than real gold Export License holders?  I’m sure there are a number of reasons but one reason for sure is the criminal activity that is enabled by such a poor system.  The structure needs to be overhauled for foreign investment to come into Sierra Leone.

Mohamed Turay, CEO of DTB is a conman.  I will forward our legal contract for your review.  In the mean time here are the details:

  • I found DTB through the internet and somehow got connected on WhatsApp with Mohamed Turay last September.  We spoke briefly about how to conduct business.  I told him we are looking to acquire 30 to 60 kg per month.
  • January 9, 2019, Mohamed re-surfaced with a photo showing 20 bars and my name scribbled on a desktop pad.  Photo provided via Apple Photo sharing “Freetown Criminals”
  • The Gold Trade and DTB Purchase Agreement was executed on Jan 16 and 17, 2019.
  • Maitland Thompson met with Mohamed Turay and his attorney to complete a background check. 
  • I arrived in Sierra Leone Tuesday, January 22.  Air France FLT 596 form CDG.
  • Wednesday morning, we met with Mohamed at his office to finalize the details.
    • I inspected the gold using high powered magnets, Acid and visual inspection.
    • The gold passed this process and you can see my notes on each bar on Mohamed’s white desktop pad.  It shows weight in grams.
  • The arrangement was to pay for 3kg and carry 3kg to be paid later after final assay in America.  DTB was to send a travel representative with the inventory.
    • The total payment for 3kg inventory was to be $84,000 or $28,000 per 1kg to DTB.
    • GGDO fee’s to be 3% of market value on 6kg.  Paid $7,400 USD.
    • Export fee’s to be 2% of market value on 6kg.  Paid $5,000
    • $1,200 grease money to get inventory processed at GGDO and NMA to make flight schedule on Saturday.
  • After completing all the payments the inventory was locked up back in Mohamed’s safe.  After I left his office, we agreed to buy and additional 3kg making the total purchase 9kg.  The payment for this additional 3kg was $2,300 and the balance to be paid after final assay in USA.
  • Total all in we paid for $15,900 for an expected 9kg.
  • As we worked through each step of the agreement, Mohamed didn’t honor his commitments and retained the gold every stop of the way. 
  • He used a Chief as an excuse.  He used INFLOW and an excuse.  He used trust as an excuse.  He used the statement “We are not licensed to hold gold”.
  • The goal was to get us to wire transfer the $84,000 into his account and then never give us the gold.   He used the GGDO and law to his advantage. 
  • The actual amount paid to the GGDO was about $10,500.  The balance of $5,400 he kept.  And we were very close to losing and additional $84,000 USD.

Mohamed and his team are crooks and you should seriously consider publishing this and putting it on your website until your government fixes the GGDO process flow in order to protect foreign investment”.

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