DESPITE several warnings by the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) and reports of people losing millions of maloti, many Basotho continue to fall victim to illegal money schemes.
The latest such money scheme promising instant riches is the Hlazvill Forex Trading scheme where Basotho and other investors are being promised a 50 percent return on their investment within a month.
The Lesotho Times this week saw copies of two contracts of ‘investors’ who were promised a 50 percent return on their investments within a month.
One ‘investor’ deposited M19 000 into Hlazvill Forex Trading’s account for an expected return of M9, 500 while the other ‘investor’ deposited M8000 for an expected return of M4000 after a month.
It remains to be seen whether or not the investors will get the promised returns or even their initial deposit as Hlazvill Forex Trading’s account is said to have been closed by one of the local banking institutions.
Sources close to the developments say the two cases were just the tip of the iceberg and there were many more people falling for the money schemes despite frequent warnings by the CBL.
Hlazvill Forex Trading owner, Teboho Hlazi, could not be reached for comment last night as he was unreachable on his two mobile phones.
On his part, CBL Public Relations Manager, Ephraim Moremoholo, warned the public against illegal money schemes.
“Basotho should stay away from illegal money trading and we can only intervene in the cases of investment companies regulated by the Central Bank,” Mr Moremoholo said.
The CBL also released a statement warning Basotho against forex trading on 28 June 2018.
“The Central Bank… advises the public that there are persons and companies who take deposits from the public with the purpose to trade in foreign currencies (forex trading) on behalf of the public, on the promise that they will get lucrative returns on their deposits within a certain period.
“The public is warned that these individuals and companies are operating without licences from the Central Bank. The Central Bank, therefore, advises the public to desist from giving such persons or companies any monies under the impression of making an investment.
“The public are informed that participation in any activities related to the acquisition, trading or use of financial securities is at the user’s sole risk. The Central Bank warns the public that, in the event of any losses resulting from participation in these forex trading activities, there shall not be any recourse to the Central Bank. The Central Bank directs any person or company that is collecting monies from members of the public for forex trading activities, to cease with immediate effect,” The CBL said in its statement.
This is not the first incident in which Basotho have fallen victim to illegal money schemes. In November 2007, MKM, was shut down by CBL who accused it of operating banking and insurance businesses in violation of the Financial Institution Act 1999 and Insurance Act of 1976. Thousands of Basotho lost millions of maloti which they are still battling to recover.
In 2015, Basotho also fell victim to several Ponzi schemes including MMM Global and KIPI which claimed to offer 30 percent return on investment within a month.