WINDHOEK – The Bank of Namibia has again cautioned and urged members of the public to refrain from conducting or participating in illegal deposit taking schemes currently operating in the country.
The central bank emphasised that taking deposits from the public without authorisation from the Bank of Namibia is prohibited in terms of Section 5 of the Banking Institutions Act, No. 2 of 1998.
“In line with the mandate of the bank to investigate financial schemes which are operated in contravention of the Act, the bank has become aware of investment schemes which are increasingly becoming popular in Namibia on social media and other online platforms. As a result, the bank and the Namibian Police are currently investigating a number of suspected illegal financial schemes, and once the investigations are completed the public will be informed of the outcome,” said Bank of Namibia spokesperson Kazembire Zemburuka.
Zemburuka cautioned that illegal investment schemes can be identified by typical features including not being authorised by the Bank of Namibia to accept deposits from the public or to conduct banking business, and usually involves an investment scheme whereby members are promised high returns within a very short time. In most of these illegal activities the promoter of the scheme accepts deposits or so-called investments from members of the public as a regular feature of its business, and further extends these funds to other members.
Another tell-tale sign is the rapid growth of membership, which is often achieved through promotional messages via social media platforms, most commonly WhatsApp groups; as well as a business that does not sell any products but whose principal feature is a financial scheme involving enticing members of the public to invest and enjoy high returns.
“The public is hereby cautioned to refrain from operating and/or participating in such schemes, as they are not only illegal, but are also a risky financial undertaking. Thus, any person involved in business activities that resemble the above-mentioned features are directed to stop such practices immediately as it contravenes the provisions of the Act. The bank is empowered to take action against members of the public who participate in illegal financial schemes. The bank reminds that members of the public who operate and/or promote such businesses commit an offence in terms of the Act and if found guilty will accordingly be punished in terms of section 72 of the Act,” Zemburuka warned.