Gov’t working to recover monies invested in Ponzi scheme
Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Anil Nandlall has announced that the government is working to ensure that thousands of Guyanese who invested in a ‘Ponzi scheme’ operating on the East Coast Demerara, will have their monies reimbursed.
“Our main priority is to ensure that if this scheme is unlawful, and from all indications it is unlawful, then our main priority is to ensure that the persons who have put money into this scheme are reimbursed…we also have to build a database of persons who have invested and the amount they invested so that they can be reimbursed if possible,” the AG assured during a virtual press briefing on Saturday.
The PPP/C Government, while in opposition and on assuming office received numerous complaints from members of the public, concerning the operations of the financial outfit, known as Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. (ACFI).
In a press release issued earlier in the week from the Attorney General Chambers, it was explained that thousands of citizens enrolled and invested some US$20 Million in the Ponzi scheme which claims it uses a foreign exchange platform to trade.
According to the release, it appears that all aspects of the scheme operate online via training webinars, WhatsApp and emails. The methods of payment used to invest and trade are credit cards or by wire transfer.
AG Nandlall expressed his shock at learning the number of Guyanese that were ensnared in this scheme.
“…the volume of money they have invested, it is staggering, shocking … we ask that members of the public and persons who invested their monies in this scheme come forward and assist the police with their investigations.”
It was disclosed that the government has launched a multi-sectoral approach to deal with the issue.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the Attorney General Chambers, Guyana Securities Council, the Bank of Guyana, the Guyana Police Force, and the Financial Intelligence.
It was also pointed out that ACFI is not licensed by the Guyana Securities Council to solicit investments from the public. Applications made to the Guyana Securities Council for a license, as well as the Bank of Guyana for a corporate account were rejected since the firm has “violated several pieces of legislation across the fiscal, regulatory architecture.”
“… The Government does not grant licenses; it is granted by agencies of the state who operate under statutory provisions. The license is granted in the exercise of those statutory powers based upon the requirements laid down in the particular statute.
Applicants and applications are vetted by those agencies’ staff with the technical people and those agencies determine whether an application has merit or an applicant is qualified to be granted the license for which he/she/it has applied,” the Attorney General outlined
Based on investigations, the firm has no bank account at any of the local commercial banks.
Under the previous administration, the relevant agencies informed the various Ministers of this scheme operating without a license but received no response.
The person who is in police custody assisting with investigations, is a Cuban national and is Guyanese by naturalisation.
According to the AG, when his naturalisation was advertised in the newspapers, the security council wrote to the relevant ministers, former Ministers of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix and Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan informing them of the historical antecedents of the gentlemen but that letter also received no response.
“If it was allowed to grow bigger, it would have ensnared more money… so the police force and the various agencies are working to get to the bottom of this operation,” he reiterated.
The Attorney General said the PPP/C administration will prioritise strengthening the country’s legislation to prevent such from happening again. One such legislation is the Securities Bill which is being worked on at the AG chambers.