THE Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and the Solomon Islands Financial Intelligence Unit (SIFIU) have maintained their stance that One Link Pacifica is operating illegally in the country.
The statement was made further to their earlier statement in December about the illegality and that public should not join the scheme.
Speaking at the press conference on Thursday, SIFIU Director, Mr. Jimmy Sendersley explained to take in public deposits; it has to come under the banking business that has to be registered under the CBSI.
Sendersley said since One Link has not registered but continues to take in deposits, its actions are illegal under the CBSI constitutions.
“Under section 2 (1) of the Financial Institution Act 1998, it defines Banking business as; (a) the business of accepting deposits of money from the public or members thereof, withdrawable or payable upon demand or after a fixed period or after notice, or any similar operation through the frequent sales or placement of bonds, certificates, notes or other securities, and the use of such funds, either in whole or in part, for loans or investments for the account and at the risk of the person doing such business.
“Section 2 (2) explained a person shall be deemed to be carrying on banking business if he advertises for or solicits deposits of money, or offers to sell or place bonds, certificates, notes or other securities and uses or intends to use the funds so required, within whole or part, for advances, investments or in any other operation either authorized by law or by customary banking practice for the account and at the risk of the person placing such advertisement; or advertises, promotes or operates a pyramid selling scheme,” he added.
He said it is the regulatory and suspensory responsibility of the CBSI to assess and provide licenses to those who intend to carry out banking business.
“For any of such businesses to operate, it has to meet the strict requirements as they will be taking in public’s money.
“The CBSI has not given any license to the Promoters of One Link Pacific to operate as a finance business,” he said.
He then described One Link Pacifica as a Ponzi/Pyramid scheme.
“A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with little risk.
“We have many of such schemes in the past years, though slightly different in the way they operate,” he said.
He said it’s an unfair scheme where 4 individuals contribute to make up $1,000 dollars paid to the 1st person joining the scheme.
“For 100 members to get $1,000 there must be $250 investment contributions from 400 members.
“From what we are aware of, from November to December 2019, there are lots of members that have joined the scheme,” he said.
Sendersley said most of the members (i.e. around 90%) joining the scheme is here in Honiara.
“Also, we heard that there are some people out in the provinces that joined the scheme as well,” he added.
He said the operation of One Link Scheme is carried out through by the so-called Mentors/Recruiters by word of mouth; emails, social media, etc. entice new members to join the scheme.
“We understand the company was registered under a fishing company and not as a scheme as it operating now,” he said.
He then calls for any victim of the scheme to immediately file a formal complaint to the police so that they can be prosecuted under Penal Code, for stealing, fraud, false pretense, conspiracy to procure payment and so forth.