The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has once more clarified that online forex trading is not prohibited.
It said the practice of collecting money from members of the public for investment in forex is unlawful.
"The bank does not prohibit the online forex trading, however, members of the public who do so should utilise their own funds and not solicit funds from the public to invest on their behalf under any pretence, as that contravenes the applicable laws," explained Emma Haiyambo, BoN's director of strategic communication.
BoN issued a statement following a peaceful protest on Friday by a group of people who willingly gave their money for investment to forex traders Michael Amushelelo and his business partner Gregorie Beni Cloete, demanding for the release of their money.
The group, calling themselves Project One Million Investors, submitted a letter to the central bank, saying most of them are struggling financially, claiming they had no knowledge, neither were they part of any fraudulent or money laundering activities for which Amushelelo and Cloete were charged. The group, which, is mostly comprised, of young people has given BoN 21 days to respond.
Amushelelo and Cloete were arrested in October 2019 for allegedly receiving millions of dollars from members of the public through their financial schemes, which are Project One Million and Asset Legacy Investments CC.
Amushelelo and his co-accused did so without being authorised in terms of the Banking Institution Act. Furthermore, the prosecution is charging that the pair committed offences relating to money laundering.
Consequently, the authorities seized all properties and vehicles and froze all bank accounts belonging to the accused.
The pair now face four counts that are in contravention with the Banking Institution Act 2 of 1998 and Prevention of Organised Crime Act 29 of 2004. They are expected to return to court on 20 August.
BoN said they have already met with the 'investors' informing them of the bank's position; they cannot release the money seized as they are bound by the legal process. However, BoN is warning the public not to promote nor participate or invest in illegal financial schemes.
"Members of the public are once again cautioned that participation or investing in such schemes may result in them losing their hard-earned money," reiterated Haiyambo.
Amushelelo who was nowhere in sight during the protest said he could not join the group due to his court case.
He said that BoN stopped a project that was successful since a lot of people were benefiting from it.
"BoN said that they were acting in the interest of the public when they opened the case and froze the bank accounts. What public? When they abruptly stopped the livelihoods of the people," said Amushelelo.
Amushelelo further said that his arrest was a political witch-hunt, as some members of the public feel threatened by the power he was gaining.
"Ironically, how can Bank of Namibia detect N$600 or N$500 but failed to detect millions of dollars that were being shipped out of this country," said Amushelelo.