Johannesburg - South Africa's "youngest self-made millionaire" has been accused of plagiarising his training company's course material and falsely claiming to have made R30 million in profit.
After 23-year-old Sandile Shezi shared his success story in the media, several industry players contacted News24 raising suspicion over the operations of his company Global Forex Institute (GFI).
GFI provides training in currency trading with delegates sometimes shown an account reflecting a R30 million profit and told they would be taught how to do the same.
Questions have been raised about the account's legitimacy and whether it actually belongs to GFI, as claimed on its Facebook page, where a post says: "Now is YOUR time for $$$$. This Saturday 18 July we will host a FREE Forex (foreign exchange) Class at Protea Hotel Umhlanga. You will get to meet the nr1 ranked trader in Africa and we will show you how we made R30 million then you copy our strategy!"
However, Shezi says he has never said the R30 million belonged to his company.
"I have never claimed to have a R30 million account and have never tried to claim someone else’s account was my own," he said.
Shezi said whenever they showed accounts in seminars, the account holder’s name was shown with the account on screen and credit given verbally to the account owner.
After attending a free GFI class, delegates were offered an advanced course, believed to cost around R4 000. Everything apparently gets paid for in cash, a source familiar with their operations told News24.
Plagiarised course material
The GFI has also been accused of using plagiarised material to present its courses. Some sections of the notes the GFI uses to train clients appear to be plagiarised from a site called BabyPips, a free beginner's guide to forex trading. News24 has seen copies of some sections of the GFI's notes and they appear to be identical to notes on the BabyPips website.
Shezi said this was a serious allegation and the modules had been compiled for them before GFI was established.
"I took it personally upon myself to compare the notes. I could not find any 'plagiarised' sentences. I couldn’t find any correlation between the format and chapter headings at all. I did however notice some of the pictures looked very similar," he told News24.
"However, this is a null point as we have spent the past year compiling a 300-page comprehensive training manual... We have already started using our new training manual."
More questions have arisen over GFI's preferred broker ACM Gold. Its website punts it as their "broker of choice because they are an international broker with a fully functional office in Sandton... They are [Financial Services Board] regulated and have won multiple awards."
Preferred broker's FSB licence withdrawn
However, News24 has since learnt the FSB has temporarily withdrawn ACM Gold's licence.
About this, Shezi told News24 last month: "They are under investigation and as a result we can't send new clients to them. Until the issue is resolved we are sending our clients to IronFX."
IronFX is another forex broker and Shezi's site mentions it was also one of the biggest in the world.
ACM Gold's spokesperson Robyn Francis told News24 at the time the licence was temporarily withdrawn pending an investigation into a former client of theirs.
"We are actively working with the FSB. We expect [the investigation] to be resolved by the end of the week.
"As a precautionary measure and as a show of good faith, we are not accepting deposits or trades from new clients. This has been the case since we received notice from the FSB. Existing clients have full access to their funds which remain safe and secure."
Francis told News24 on Friday the licence was still temporarily withdrawn and the FSB investigation was still on-going.