NBFIRA Warns Against Ecoplexus, QZ Asset Management "Investment" Schemes

The Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) has warned the public against engaging with Ecoplexus and QZ Asset Management "investment" schemes.

About QZ Asset Management, NBFIRA stated that the entity was not licensed to operate as a Non-Bank Financial Institution as required by Section 3(1) of the Securities Act, 2014, nor has it been granted any dispensation to operate in Botswana by NBFIRA.

"NBFIRA notes that QZ ASSET MANAGEMENT advertises itself and / or markets its business as an Asset Manager a licensed and regulated activity under Section 2 of the Securities Act, 2022. Members of the public are therefore cautioned against transacting with QZ ASSET MANAGEMENT for any asset management services or general investment services," NBFIRA said in a statement.

On Ecoplexus, the regulator stated that "Ecoplexus is not licensed to provide investment business services in Botswana, therefore, the business and its representatives are operating illegally."

"It has come to the Authority’s attention that Ecoplexus was providing “investment” services of a deposit taking nature in Botswana. It appears that they had been aggressively canvassing members of the public for this business. Recent media coverage has reported the unfortunate situation where countless members of the public have lost their money to what was an illegal ponzi scheme, which promised a high return on investment. Unlicensed operators are a common presence across many sectors of the economy, and unfortunately expose unsuspecting members of the public to the risk of abuse and fraud," a statement reads.

The regulator also took the liberty to explain what an investment was with regards to the country non-banking sector.

"The Authority has regulatory and supervisory jurisdiction over approved investment products as defined by the Securities Act and the Collective Investment Undertakings Act. These products include bonds, commodities, stocks, shares and unit trust. Ecoplexus’s operations were  marketed as an “investment” opportunity. The business operations of Ecoplexus, therefore, do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Authority’s mandate as the nature of their “investment” does not fall within the definition used in the Authority’s regulatory framework."

According to TechCabal, victims lost tens of million of pula in the Ecoplexus scam.

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