MASERU — The Central Bank of Lesotho on Monday said the institution is concerned by the increasing number of people falling victim to Ponzi schemes.
In a stunning admission, the bank’s director of supervision, ’Makhalima Mohasoa, told journalists at a workshop on Monday that some of her workmates had been swindled in Ponzi schemes despite their vast knowledge of how the schemes operate.
“Many people have lost their money in the schemes. Even our co-workers have been cheated while investing in the schemes,” Mohasoa said.
The workshop was organised to help sharpen journalists’ skills on economic and financial reporting.
Mohasoa said the institution is concerned by the increasing number of people falling victim to Ponzi schemes that are mushrooming countrywide.
“People should be aware not to invest their money in the schemes. They are illegal and the Central Bank of Lesotho cannot regulate them. This is why they are being closed down across the world,” Mohasoa said.
Mohasoa however could not give figures of the number of people who have been ripped off in the schemes.
She said the bank was in the process of closing down other unlicenced financial institutions.
Speaking at the same occasion the Central Bank governor Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane urged Basotho to avoid Ponzi schemes.
“They are run by people who want to enrich themselves at the expense of others,” Matlanyane said.
CBL public relations officer, Moroke Moroke, said the last Ponzi scheme closed last year was TVI Express.
“Ponzi schemes are a cause for concern. The Central Bank has acted swiftly to follow up and close down businesses of such nature. We are on alert to deal with such schemes so that people are not cheated into joining them.
“We are concerned because we see many of them emerging in neighbouring countries. We fear that they might come to us like what happened with TVI Express that first opened in some South African cities. We do not want them anywhere near our people,” Moroke said.
Late last year CBL said TVI Express was operating in Lesotho in violation of the law.
“The Central Bank of Lesotho would like to warn the public about the dangers of investing or participating in this particular scheme and other schemes of a similar nature,” said the bank in a statement.
TVI Express’ operations have since been stopped in many countries.
Countries like China, Australia, India and Indonesia have issued similar alerts against it.