Life savings go down the ‘Coin-it’ drain

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Hundreds of people travelled from far and wide to the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Friday armed with proof of how much they invested in Coin-it.
Hundreds of people travelled from far and wide to the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Friday armed with proof of how much they invested in Coin-it.
Picture: Moeketsi Mamane

Broken relationships, life savings gone down the drain and stress induced heartaches.

These are just some of the problems being experienced by people who invested in the Dundee-based Ponzi scheme, Coin-it, which has been liquidated.

“Someone told me about the company. They showed me payments they received. It was a well-known company. I trusted them.”
Investor

Hundreds of people travelled from far and wide to the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Friday armed with proof of how much they invested in the company.

One of the liquidators, Marcel Nel, said that the purpose of the investors’ meeting is for them to complete claims forms to be submitted against Coin-it in terms of the Insolvency Act.

Weekend Witness spoke to some people who invested money with the company.

READ MORE | Dundee-based investment company Coin-it wants warrant set aside

Mbalenhle Ngubane of Imbali said that she inherited R100 000 when her mother died and put the money in a bank.

It was all the money she had. When she went to withdraw R10 000, a bank teller whom she knew, insisted she take the entire R100 000 and invest it with Coin-it which she did.

She never got a cent back.

A Pietermaritzburg man, who did not wish to be named, said that he invested R150 000 in the company last year May, from money he received through a Road Accident Fund claim.

“Someone told me about the company. They showed me payments they received. It was a well-known company. I trusted them.”

READ MORE | Warning over scams

Another man said he was a soldier and received his pension payout when he left the SANDF. Of the amount, he invested R225 000 in the company and spent the rest. He said that he thought he was investing for the long run and for retirement. Now he has nothing, he said despondently.

One man said he was building his house when he learnt about Coin-it. He took the money he had and invested it with the company. When his building stopped, his wife was angry and asked him what he did with all their money.

He said he invested it with the company. When he got nothing in return, it caused problems in his marriage resulting in his wife leaving him.

“In truth there was no equipment bought and leased. The money was being circulated resulting in a Ponzi scheme. (Michael) De Beer managed the scheme and he dealt with the money circulating in the scheme as his own money. The scheme was in contravention of the law. Coin-it was finally wound up on May 28, 2020.”
Judge Sidwell Mngadi

Meanwhile, back at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, judgment was granted in favour of Coin-it this week. The company succeeded in having a warrant set aside and all the items removed from its premises during a raid returned.

Judge Sidwell Mngadi said that the company apparently concluded business by enticing members of the public in participating in a scheme. It entailed members paying a deposit and monthly instalments towards purchasing a truck tractor, bus or similar equipment.

The equipment would be leased out and the rentals paid to the “purchaser”.

Judge Mngadi added, “In truth there was no equipment bought and leased. The money was being circulated resulting in a Ponzi scheme. (Michael) De Beer managed the scheme and he dealt with the money circulating in the scheme as his own money. The scheme was in contravention of the law. Coin-it was finally wound up on May 28, 2020.”

READ MORE | 90 want Coin-it to pay

The judge however ordered that every item and every copy made of every item removed on March 5, from the premises in Cable Street, Dundee, be returned. The judge said that the warrant should be set aside on the basis that Marcel Nel, one of the liquidators, had no authority to apply for it on March 4, and that he failed to disclose the full and correct facts to the magistrate.

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