The offices of the Coinit Trading investment scheme in Dundee have been raided by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and the Hawks.
This comes after the FSCA warned the public to act with caution when dealing with Coinit Trading and Commex Minerals.
Many people who had invested thousands of rands with Coinit had raised concerns about the company, with many calling the companies a collapsed pyramid scheme.
A local woman, who asked not to be named, had invested R280 000, which was a portion of her provident fund after she resigned from her job, to buy trucks through the company.
She told The Witness that she was receiving a R30 000 monthly payout from Coinit for the use of the trucks, which abruptly came to a stop in June this year.
The woman told The Witness on Monday she has still not received her payments. “I don’t know anyone who has been paid by the company recently. I heard that their offices were raided by the Hawks so the matter must be serious. I just want them to pay me all the money they owe me,” said the woman.
In a statement, the FSCA said they executed a search and seizure warrant at the business premises of Coinit Trading and Commex Minerals, as well as the private home of one of the former directors of Coinit Trading.
The raid took place on Friday.
“Documents and computers were seized for the purpose of determining if there is any evidence that a financial sector law may have been contravened,” read the statement.
On August 30, the FSCA launched a formal investigation into the activities of Coinit and Commex Minerals as these entities were suspected to be operating an investment scheme in contravention of a financial sector law, and the possibility that clients’ investments may have been misappropriated.
The FSCA said neither of these entities was licensed to conduct any financial services nor to receive deposits from the public, even though they falsely claim to be authorised by the FSCA.
Coinit’s attorney, Mello Shabangu, said the companies had applied for an FSCA licence on November 16 last year.
He said to this day, the application status says it’s in progress.
Shabangu said on Tuesday last week, Coinit’s legal team went to meet with the FSCA, where they were informed the investigation’s director was in the UK.
Shabangu said they were told that a meeting would be set up this week.
He said they were shocked to learn that the FSCA had raided their client’s offices despite their agreement to meet this week.
Shabangu said officials from the FSCA, accompanied by the Hawks, were at the offices on Friday from 10 am to 7 pm. “Surprisingly enough, the same investigator who was to confirm a meeting with FSCA’s top management investigator for [Tuesday this week], was part of those who seized all client’s files and documents.
“The FSCA told Coinit management that their office is shut down pending investigation and they were also instructed not to pay any clients and not to receive money from the public until the investigations are over,” said Shabangu.
He went on to say that Coinit has not been charged with anything and the company has been summoned to an interview with the FSCA this week.
“Coinit’s management has asked that their clients remain calm during this period. Coinit awaits the charge from the FSCA so it can comply if it has violated any laws unknowingly.
“They want to resolve this issue as soon as possible so they can start processing investors’ payments again,” said Shabangu.