• April 3rd, 2020

Amushelelo’s ‘investors’ want their money back, ask BoN for guidance

WINDHOEK – Close to 300 people who willingly gave their money to self-proclaimed forex trader Michael Amushelelo and his associate Gregory Cloete (who were arrested on October 10, 2019) are now asking the Bank of Namibia to refund their ‘investments’. The group, calling themselves Project One Million Investors, submitted a letter to the central bank saying most of them are struggling financially, claiming they had no knowledge, neither were they part of any fraudulent or money laundering activities for which Amushelelo and Cloete were charged.   

The nearly 300 people from which Amushelelo accepted ‘investments’ gave their hard-earned money to a company called Project One Million, founded by the accused and his associate. However, now that all properties and vehicles belonging to the accused have been seized and banks accounts have been frozen, the concerned individuals are dealing with the harsh reality that they may never see their money again, not to mention the huge returns promised by the accused in the matter. 

“We clearly understand the implications against Amushelelo and Cloete’s case; however, we have been under the impression that we [borrowed] our money to him, willingly, getting an interest in return… With all due respect to your high authority, we would like to request for refunds of our invested funds that were paid into Amushelelo’s bank accounts, mainly: Amushe International Holding Group (Pty) Ltd and Global Growth Namibia (Pty) Ltd. We, the investors, are individuals who were merely trying to fight poverty by raising funds to start enterprises in the long run after getting our returns through this initiative,” reads the letter to Bank of Namibia. 

The group went on to seek advice and proper guidelines from the central bank, adding that most of them have been left with barely anything to seek appropriate legal advice. 
“We are out of money and options, so we need our money back. We can’t find jobs and we are struggling. We have learned our lesson but, please, we should not be punished for at least trying to make something on our own,” the letter reads.  

Meanwhile, shortly after Amushelelo and Cloete’s arrests, the Bank of Namibia clearly pronounced itself on the issue of foreign exchange (forex) trading, reminding Namibian residents of 18 years and older that they are entitled to an investment allowance of N$6 million per year for investment purposes abroad. However, BoN emphasised that the utilisation of this allowance can only be done through an authorised dealer. 
“Additionally, public members are entitled to a single discretionary allowance of N$1 million per year for any foreign exchange transaction through Authorised Dealers and Authorised Dealers with Limited Authority.  It should be borne in mind that the above-mentioned transactions can only be done with the individual’s own money,” clarified BoN’s Deputy Director for Corporate Communications Kazembire Zemburuka. 

Forex trading was recently thrust into the spotlight by the arrest of Amushelelo and Cloete, as the specialised trade is advertised all over the internet and social media in particular as an additional source of income. 

The duo, known for flaunting their lavish lifestyle, were arrested on charges of conducting a banking business without authorisation, accepting money from the public for investment without being authorised to do so under the Banking Institutions Act, money laundering, and acquiring, possessing or using property forming part of the proceeds of unlawful activities.

According to BoN, foreign exchange in Namibia is regulated by the Currency and Exchanges Act, 1933 (Act No. 9 of 1933), the Exchange Control Regulations 1961, and the Rules and Order issued under these laws. Under these laws, only licensed Authorised Dealers (ADs) such as commercial banks and Authorised Dealers with Limited Authority (ADLAs), commonly known as Bureaus of Exchange, can deal in foreign exchange. As such, all persons and entities who wish to acquire foreign exchange for legitimate reasons must do so via commercial banks or Foreign Exchange Bureaus. 

 “Thus, any person or entity transacting in foreign exchange without complying with the above applicable laws and the process described above does so unlawfully. The Bank of Namibia has published a list of all licensed AD and ADLAs on its website. Therefore, individuals making use of these licensed entities to acquire foreign exchange do not need to register with the Bank of Namibia,” Zemburuka stated. 

 He added that the exchange or conversion of the Namibia Dollar into any foreign currency is regulated to control the use of Namibia’s foreign currency reserves in the best interest of the economy. 

Edgar Brandt
2019-11-28 07:45:30 | 4 months ago

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