Friday, November 5, 2010

Why Would Bank of Namibia Declare TVI Express a scam?

The reasoning of declaration by "Bank of Namibia" is based on the Namibian "banking institution act" of 1998, in that only a "bank" can accept deposits, and otherwise store money for people, and TVI Express, obviously is NOT a bank, so the eWallet is illegal banking. From a news report: "The law prohibits the taking of money from public by holding out prospect to new participants that they will be rewarded and that they can also obtain the right to further recruit and receive benefits in whatever form."

You can read the law itself here: Institutions Act, 1998.pdf

So what *does* the law say?

Purpose: To  consolidate  and  amend  the  laws  relating  to  banking  institutions;  to  provide  for  the
authorisation  of  a  person  to  conduct  business  as  a  banking  institution,  and  for  the control, supervision  and  regulation of banking  institutions;  to protect  the  interests of persons making  deposits with  banking  institutions;  to  provide  for  the winding-up  or judicial management of banking  institutions and  for  the cancellation of authorisations; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

Prohibition on conducting of banking business by unauthorised persons
5.    (1) No person shall –

(a)  Conduct banking business;
(b)  receive, accept or take a deposit;
(c)  by any means, including advertising or soliciting, procure or attempt to procure a deposit;
(d)  pretend to be a banking institution; or
(e)  subject  to subsection  (2), use  the expression  “bank” or  “banking  institution”, or any other expression, name, title or symbol indicating or calculated to create the impression  that the person is conducting, or is authorised to conduct, business as a banking institution,

So the main question here is... can TVI Express eWallet be considered some sort of a "deposit" and "withdrawal" instrument, and thus, bank function? 

I actually raised this question several months ago... TVI Express is clearly NOT a banking institution, so how is an eWallet legal at all? All "department store" and "gas station" cards are actually issued in partnership with a bank, at least in the US.  The idea that a company can just HOLD some people's money to be paid out "on demand" is just... outrageous.

On the other hand, the Namibian local position in interesting... Apparently they are taking the position that the N$2500 payment is for membership, not a "deposit".

Problem with that argument is the $500 / $10000 payout is earned through recruiting, and put into eWallet. If eWallet is considered a "banking practice", then TVI Express is indeed conducting "banking business" without authorization, and therefore illegal. However, if there is no 'deposit' from the public, just from the company, can it still be considered "banking practice"?

What's even more interesting... New Era / AllAfrica reports that Bank of Namibia had previously called for comments from TVI Express members in Namibia on October 27th, but nobody showed up. So Bank of Namibia went ahead and declared TVI Express a scam.

"The first meeting was scheduled for October 27 but no TVI Express representatives pitched up."

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