BoN uncovers 12 pyramid schemes

19 August 2020 | Banking

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) in 2019 and 2020 conducted investigations into 12 suspected illegal financial pyramid schemes uncovered in the country, its deputy director for corporate communications, Kazembire Zemburuka has said.

In an interview with Nampa on Monday, Zemburuka said that as such, members of the public and promoters of such illegal financial schemes were directed to immediately stop their operations and promotions.

In 2020, Elemant, R 200 WhatsApp stokvel, Crowd1 Network Limited, Project One million, Asset Legacy investments cc and Greenleaf Biotech Namibia (Pty) Limited were investigated and found as illegal pyramid financial schemes.

While in 2019, Longrich Bioscience, JamaLife, Karatbars International, Global Dream Network, Onyx Lifestyle and World Ventures Holdings were investigated and also found to have been illegal financial pyramid schemes.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the BoN has been facing challenges to carry out investigations on illegal financial pyramid schemes.

“Understandably, tracing the owners or promoters of the suspected illegal financial schemes, during this time of restrictions imposed on face-to-face meetings, and travel could potentially impede successful engagements. However, the bank always makes use of alternative communication platforms to engage owners or promoters of such schemes. At present, the bank is of the opinion that alternative platforms have been successful,” Zemburuka said.

‘Reluctance’

He added that the bank has noticed that there is generally a reluctance on the part of promoters of such suspected businesses to come forth when the Bank calls them to provide details of their businesses’ operating models.

The moment promoters become aware that the bank wants to engage them, they generally close their activities and start afresh with another scheme, said Zemburuka.

“For this reason, the bank focusses on educating the public to be familiar with the features of illegal financial schemes in general, so that they remain alert when presented with such opportunities.

He warned that according to the Banking Institution Act, 1998 (Act No.2 of 1998), as amended those found guilty would be liable to a fine not exceeding N$1 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years or both. - Nampa

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