Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Trade Jotham Napat has advised investors in the failed Apma Financial Investment Centre that they are unlikely to see their deposits returned.
“What we have learned since the court action and audit of AFIC is the total mismanagement of investor funds and regrettably, the actions of its founder and former director will see no return on investment.”
The audit report of March 2018 identified funds were being injected into business projects both owned and controlled by the founder that crippled the full operations of AFIC. Furthermore, most of these transactions as identified by Audit of March 2018 are deemed criminal offences and are currently in process of investigation, thus findings and complaints constituting the legal case are underway.
“It is entirely regrettable the mismanagement of this business will likely see investors out of pocket. We as a government are doing all we can to prevent this type of scam from happening again,” the deputy prime minister said.
The government has already taken steps to amend the co-operatives act to ensure average investors are not scammed again.
Further, an application to seize all assets under former director, Mr Barnabas Tabi and his subsidiary companies, Saling Shipping, Ko Yang Si, Ramtan construction, Bujunbana Holdings Ltd has been granted by the Supreme Court civil case no 931 of 2018.
The audit report identified VT320,591,036 in misused funds allegedly by Mr Tabi for the benefit of his own businesses.
AFIC is working with the Department of Cooperatives in seizing all these assets.
AFIC’s services have been limited and monitored for the past 21 months to allow AFIC and the Department of Cooperative to carry out an audit of the operation of AFIC throughout its 49 agencies. AFIC’s office is not closed and is initiating a recovery plan based on civil case no 931 of 2018 where the initial major focus is bringing forward a number of critical phases that enables AFIC to recover and to recommence the delivery services to its members.
“It is not a ‘Quick Fix’ but a phased recovery process that requires the recovery and realization of assets and loans along with the implementation of effective recovery policies and procedures that will restore member confidence,” Hon. Napat said.
AFIC is requesting all its members who have outstanding loans to repay without further delays as part of the Recovery Plan initiated.