7 Apr 2009


Development Entrepreneurship for Community Initiative (Deci) Tanzania, which is operating a pyramid scheme, has no bank account, investigations have established.

Meanwhile, BoT and other regulatory agencies came under the spotlight yesterday, with some Deci members and other stakeholders querying why it had taken them "so long" to establish irregularities in Deci's operations.

A source in the team that investigated Deci's operations told The Citizen yesterday that tens of millions of shillings collected from members were actually deposited in personal bank accounts operated by Deci officials.

"We wanted to know whether Deci had a company account, and who were their bankers, and they told us that the company did not have a bank account opened in its name," said the source, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to reveal the probe team's findings to the media.

He added that Deci officials told investigators that money collected from members was kept in their (officials) personal accounts.

The probe team comprised officials from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Finance and Economic Affairs ministry, Tanzania Intelligence and Security Services, Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA).

It was also established that Deci was using a letter from BoT to gain the trust of people who wanted to join its pyramid scheme, and convince them that the company was operating legally.

The source said the letter was in response to Deci's application for a licence, adding that the central bank directed the firm to seek registration from the Industries and Commerce ministry.

BoT's director of banking supervision, Mr Joseph Massawe, said yesterday that Deci sent an application to the central bank two years ago seeking registration as an institution that would be issuing loans without taking deposits.

He said BoT advised Deci officials to seek registration from the relevant ministry.

"They have been misusing our letter of no objection. This matter is now in police hands. We have given them all the details on Deci's operations," Mr Massawe said.

Meanwhile, there was tension at Deci's headquarters in Mabibo, Dar es Salaam, following reports that many people who had invested in the pyramid scheme could lose their money.

People could be seen standing in groups discussing the latest developments in low tones.

However, some were hopeful, maintaining that Tanzanians were being deliberately misled into believing that Deci was a criminal outfit.

Others queried why it had taken BoT three years to realise that Deci was operating illegally.

Mr Eliseus Losulie described Deci as a saviour of poor people "who have for many years been exploited by other financial institutions, including banks".

"We reject BoT's announcement made through the media, we have already invested a lot of money here...where were they since 2007? They are liars," he said.

Another member said there was a need conduct a public awareness campaign to make those who were "demonising" Deci understand its operations.

"May be we should raise money and pay for airtime at a television station so that our leaders can explain what Deci is all about," he suggested.

Long queues could be seen outside the Deci offices at Mabibo yesterday as people waited to deposit money.

A man came out of the offices, displaying two receipts, and declaring that there was no one to stop Deci operations except God.

"Here are my receipts, I have just deposited my money. I don't care what BoT says, "we are tired of these politics which will not take us anywhere," he said.

Efforts by The Citizen to reach Deci officials failed as their mobile phones went unanswered.

At its Mabibo headquarters in Dar es Salaam, the company is said to be receiving deposits from an estimated 3,000 people every day.

Deci officials told The Citizen last week that they had paid out over Sh35 billion in "profits" and registered more than 500,000 members since last year when their operations began picking up.

They dismissed reports that the firm was running an illegal scheme as "unfounded and witch-hunting", but could not explain where the money to pay the huge interests came from.


SOURCE: The Citizen

I CAN'T HELP ECHOING SAME QUESTION AS ASKED BY MANY "WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN (relevant authorities) SINCE 2007?"I JUST HOPE IT'S NOT CONFLICT OF INTERESTS THAT HAS ALL THE SUDDEN MADE DECI OPERATIONS ILLEGAL.
THOUGH I AM IN NO WAY CONDONING FRAUD OR "DAYLIGHT ROBBERIES",THE POOR ARE LIKELY TURN TO SUCH GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES WHEN THEY ARE BEING NEGLECTED OR UNDER-SERVED BY FORMAL FINANCIAL SECTOR.



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