The DEC’s assistant public relations officer, Chibu Mwansa Tembo, issued a statement saying the trio, under false pretenses, was accumulating funds. They also believe that they led more financial crimes, like operating a financial service company without proper licensing.
The accused are Hilda Agnes Agnes Raubenheimer of Salama Park, Orient Rio of Ibex Hill and Tapiwa Chirwa. According to Tembo, the three jointly are being charged for: providing banking business, financial business or financial services without a license, conducting or participating in a money circulation scheme, obtaining money by false pretenses and money laundering.
The crimes took place between June and October this year and the group worked with unknown financial industry leaders. They “provided” monetary services to the public and took their customers’ money which they disguised as partnership fees. Afterwards, they used the money in a financial circulation scheme worth 28,346,800 kwachas ($2,401,864.05). They used Heritage Coin Resources Limited to falsely claim that they were placing their customers’ money into real investments.
The firm claimed it would trade cryptocurrencies online for its customers despite this not being part of its original goals. Currently, the three are on police bond and are due to appear in a Zambian court before the year ends. The DEC is still continuing its investigation of the organisation.
Later, Kamufinsa Manchishi, the DEC deputy public relations officer, later cautioned “The Commission wishes to warn members of the public to always be cautious when dealing with financial institutions owing to the increase in financial crimes, as well as companies promising unusually high returns on deposits […]. The Commission, together with the Bank of Zambia, is currently investigating [Heritage Coin Resources Limited] for activities contrary to the Prohibition and Prevention of Money Laundering, as well as the Banking and Financial Services Acts respectively.”
The growing interest of cryptocurrencies in Zambia may slow down by this unfortunate event combined with the Zambian central bank’s recent warning against the use of digital currencies.