New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Alleged Ponzi scheme operator pleads not guilty

Alleged Ponzi scheme operator pleads not guilty

2022-12-09  Roland Routh

Alleged Ponzi scheme operator pleads not guilty

A Namibian man who allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme and is accused of defrauding 79 persons to the tune of N$4.3 million, pleaded not guilty to all counts yesterday in the Windhoek High Court. 

Sakaria Megamano Namwandi and his close corporation Asset Legacy Investment is
facing 123 charges of fraud, alternatively theft by false pretences; one count of money-laundering; one count of racketeering; one count of conducting banking business while not authorised; and one count of conducting a Ponzi scheme. In addition, he is charged with two counts of tax evasion and two counts of failure to pay tax.

After State advocate Constance Moyo read out the charges, Namwandi told Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute that he understands the charges against him, and pleads not guilty. 

His Legal Aid-instructed lawyer Joseph Andreas confirmed the pleas, and indicated that they will not reveal the basis of their defence, and thus put the State to prove each and every allegation.

It is alleged that Namwandi was the sole member of Asset Legacy Investment CC, and had the duty to conduct legitimate business on behalf of the entity and facilitate the reception of legitimate business funds held at various banks. 

The State claims that he formulated and operated a Ponzi scheme in which he, through the entity, advertised two types of investment facilities to members of the public, through face-to-face interactions as well as social media platforms under the guise that the invested funds would be traded on foreign exchange platforms with a return of 50% within 30 days. 

The fraud charges relate to Namwandi and his entity telling his various investors that they were running a legitimate business, authorised to receive investments from members of the public, while they knew they had no lawful authority to conduct banking business and thus were not authorised to receive any deposits or investments from members of the public. 

Regarding the charge of money-laundering, it is alleged that the accused used the ill-gotten funds to purchase a Mercedes-Benz vehicle for his personal use, and that he used part of the funds received from investors to settle rentals for leased residential property which was also used as an office. 

In relation to the charge of racketeering, it is alleged that during the period June 2019 to October 2019, the accused acting in connivance with another in a partnership contrived to facilitate the receipt of illegal deposits and transfers of funds fraudulently obtained from investors.  The conducting of banking business without authorisation relates to the accused during the above period having conducted banking business without authorisation by receiving, accepting or taking regular deposits from members of the public in contravention of the Banking Institutions Act. The charge of conducting a Ponzi scheme relates to the accused during the period June 2019 to October 2019 wrongfully and unlawfully having become involved in the conduct of an undesirable practice by accepting or obtaining money, directly or indirectly, and paying previous investors with funds invested by new members. 

The tax evasion and failure to pay tax charges are that having registered as a taxpayer, Namwandi falsely declared to the Finance ministry that he had no taxable income for the years 2019 to 2020, while in actual fact he had N$3.1 million in various bank accounts, and he failed to pay tax in the amount of N$1 million. The trial is set down for the period 18 to 28 April next year.

2022-12-09  Roland Routh

Share on social media