Minister restates Govt’s position on OneCoin

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 29 January 2020, 8:00PM

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, says the Government had warned members of the public against investing in crytocurrency schemes like OneCoin.

As such, he believes the Government did what was necessary to warn people against investing in what has been described by the Central Bank as a “hybrid ponzi-pyramid Scheme."

The Minister of Finance’s opinion was sought following reports that the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (D.I.A.) is investigating a branch of the Worship Centre Church in Auckland.

It is the second church with connections to Samoa to be investigated in relation to OneCoin, a scheme whose leaders have been charged with fraud by American authorities.

During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Minister Sili said the Government is firm on its position that the scheme is a scam.

 “The view of Government and Central Bank is we do not encourage people to invest in those currencies,” Sili said.

 “We had issued many warnings through the Central Bank and people should have taken heed of those calls.

 “But they still continued to invest in it and that is their loss. It was their money and they’ve lost it and we are not going to compensate anyone [for money loss]…”

A message was left at the Worship Center office in Samoa for a comment on the ongoing investigation. They did not return the call at press time.

Another Samoan church, S.I.S.D.A.C., had previously denied being part of OneCoin.  

In the meantime, Minister of Finance said it is obvious that people who have spent money investing in the currency will not get the value of their money back.

Asked about the investigation into the churches, Sili said he will follow up on the matter with the authority on the latest progress.

Last year, the Central Bank of Samoa referred an intelligence report from New Zealand Police that identified the two local churches involved in the scheme.

Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, declared a conflict of interest into the case and directed queries to Assistant Attorney General Sefo Ainuu.

Mr. Ainuu did not respond to queries about the investigation carried out from last year.



By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 29 January 2020, 8:00PM

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