Forex traders Michael Amushelelo and Gregory Cloete made a first pre-trial appearance yesterday before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on various charges of contravening the Banking Act.
The matter was postponed to 18 November for the duo to answer the State’s pre-trial memorandum which requires them to indicate what will be disputed and what they admit. Amushelelo will be represented by Sisa Namandje, while Cloete will be represented by Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners.
Also charged are legal entities Amushe Hello Investment, Amushe Advertising & Design, Amushe International Holding, Van Der Walt Trailer Manufacturing, Amushelelo Family Trust T187/2019 and Global Growth Investment Namibia - all represented by Amushelelo as founder and sole member.
The charges are 348 counts of fraud, alternatively theft by false pretenses, conducting banking business without authorisation and conducting a Ponzi scheme, tax evasion, tax fraud, failure to pay tax, money laundering and racketeering.
All in all, the accused faces 365 counts. According to the charge sheet, Amushelelo and Cloete worked in a partnership, collaboration and/or in collusion with one another in a fraudulent enterprise formulated and operated as a Ponzi scheme.
"It is alleged that they advertised two types of investment facilities which they offered through a non-registered company in the name of Global Growth Investment Namibia to members of the public through face-to-face seminars, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and various other social media network platforms under the guise that the invested funds would be traded on foreign currency platforms on behalf of investors."
It is further alleged that the two accused aided each other in the execution and management of the “phoney” forex dealing business, which they conducted through the non-existent company Global Growth Investment Namibia (Pty) Ltd. To further their plan, it is alleged, they formulated and exploited the corporate personalities of Amushe Hello Investment, Amushe Advertising and Design, Amushe International Holding, Van Der Walt Trailer Manufacturing, Amushelelo Family Trust and Global Growth Investment Namibia.
They are also accused of having facilitated the signing of investment agreements with members of the public, whereupon members would invest N$5 000 or more and in return get a 50% interest after a period of two to four months.
Alternatively, members of the public could invest N$2 500 for a period of eight months and receive N$12 654.25 at the end. Court documents state the pair received N$17 million from members of the public intending to conduct banking services. This, according to the prosecution, Amushelelo and his co-accused did without being authorised in terms of the Banking Institution Act. Furthermore, the prosecution is charging that the pair committed offences relating to money laundering. Consequently, the authorities seized all properties and vehicles, and they froze all bank accounts belonging to the accused.
Currently, there is a petition demanding the release of all assets and money of Amushelelo and Cloete. The petition, spearheaded by investors and sympathisers, has thus far collected 618 signatures out of a targeted 1 000.