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Pirates must be brought to book

Millennium Goal Society

We at Newsmakers & Noisemakers have always maintained that the famed pirates of Somalia are really not the worst villains in today’s business world.
At least with those guys, as long as you keep away from certain waters in the Gulf of Aden, you’re guaranteed that they will not bother you.
No. They are not the worst scoundrels.
The real pirates of the financial high seas are those who operate pyramid schemes all over the world under the guise of investment funds.
While the United States is still reeling from the effects of pyramid pirate Bernard Madoff, hundreds of Basotho are coming to grips with a grim reality after the crew and captain of the ship Millennium Goal Society sailed off into the night with their money.
For those who may have missed it, the Lesotho Times this week carried a story of how the depositors of the bust society received less than a third of their initial investments during a payout by the liquidator.
The depositors demanded that the company’s directors be jailed for siphoning their money through a pyramid scheme which saw them losing most of their life savings.
What irks us the most is how these unscrupulous “businessmen” seem to target the very poor and illiterate amongst us for their nefarious schemes.
Take for example the 64-year-old woman who lost M7 800 to this society. She said the money had come from insurance policies paid out after her son died two years ago.
This woman and other investors had hoped the high interest rates promised by the society would deliver them from the jaws of poverty.
In our view, all companies which take deposits in any form, be it insurance, medical aid or other, must be kept under constant surveillance by qualified personnel.
Most countries have more than one institution that caters for this role.
For example, the Central Bank’s banking supervision division would monitor the larger institutions, while a Depositor Protection Board would monitor the smaller players such as this doggone society.
It is the role of the authorities to ensure that the culprits in these schemes are brought to book and depositors’ rights are protected.
Pioneer Mall
We hate to be praise-singers, but a good thing is a good thing and you cannot call it anything else.
The Pioneer Mall opened some weeks ago but construction work was yet to be finalised.
Now the place is beginning to reveal its majestic splendour for all to see.
The Eagle Mountain Spur Steak Ranch is looking very good and will certainly add to the variety of food that is available for those who like to eat out.
Needless to say, the directors at Newsmakers &Noisemakers have already sampled the fare on offer at this establishment and suffice to say we will be back sooner rather than later.
Which reminds us of what one businessman who opened a shop at the mall mentioned over a drink recently.
The benefits of developments such as this new mall do not end with creating new jobs alone, he said.
Imagine the fuel savings when most of the cars that you see heading off to Ladybrand and Bloemfontein end up at the mall instead.
It would be really interesting if the government published statistics of the changes in traffic patterns at Maseru Bridge border post, and other economic data if indeed there are any.

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