Ministry didn't issue business license: Pulotu

The Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour says it has not issued a business license to any community re-gifting schemes and warned against getting involved in pyramid schemes

The M.C.I.L. Chief Executive Officer of M.C.I.L, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, told the Samoa Observer that his Ministry doesn’t issue business licenses.

"The first thing is that we have to look at the nature of the business the license was issued to, and also the business license is issued by the Ministry of Customs and Revenue, we don’t issue licenses here at M.C.I.L.," Pulotu said. "The notice that we put out is a reminder to the public that there are laws that restrict them from being involved in pyramid schemes.”

"As for the article put out by Talamua, our team will look into that, because if a license was issued then I’m sure it was issued at a different nature of the business, but definitely not issued for a pyramid scheme."

The media reports that Pulotu made reference to claimed “several operators” vowed to continue their operations, despite the Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S.) warning of falling victim to pyramid schemes.

The three operators reportedly questioned the rationale of the recent C.B.S. public notice and warning to be wary of pyramid schemes, and pointed to their business licenses purportedly granted by M.C.I.L. which they argued were legitimate.

However, the M.C.I.L. in a statement issued on Tuesday warned the public that several pyramid selling and other similar schemes are illegal and prohibited in Samoa under section 65 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2016 which it administers.

An official at the MCIL, who did not identify himself, told the Samoa Observer that the Ministry contacted the media organisation and asked that they release the operators’ names but it declined.

"We saw an article by Talamua media and so the thing is these businesses have been registered but the thing is, even if they are registered businesses conducting illegal activities does not make it legal," the officer said.

"We contacted Talamua Media to release the names of the businesses that they got their sources from, but they declined to give us the names. 

“But it’s definitely illegal, and no businesses are approved for that kind of activity. 

"Not for this activity, no, but maybe it’s some business that we gave a license to that they’re conducting this illegal activity."

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