Some of the assets seized include a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Picture: NPA
Some of the assets seized include a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Picture: NPA

Investors hoping to recoup life savings from Coinit Trading

By Lyse Comins Time of article published Nov 27, 2020

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Durban - KWAZULU-NATAL investors who sunk their pensions and life savings into Coinit Trading are hoping to recoup their money after the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) swooped on the liquidated firm’s properties and seized R106 million worth of assets.

NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said the asset forfeiture unit had attached several immovable properties and vehicles worth R106m, belonging to Coinit Trading (Pty) Ltd (Coinit), after it had obtained a preservation order in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act No. 21 of 1998, in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. She said the matter related to a contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act 37 of 2002, and the Banks Act 94 of 1990.

The seized assets included eight properties in the Dundee, Colenso and Hattingspruit areas, five aircraft and vehicles, including a Porsche S Coupé and a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Kara said the assets would be held under curatorship pending the outcome of a forfeiture application.

“Coinit had placed advertisements on its website and in different newspapers calling for people/investors to invest with them. As a result of the advertisements, a number of people deposited funds into Coinit’s bank accounts. In terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act and the Banks Act, Coinit was not authorised to accept deposits from the investors,” Kara said.

“In the investment agreements with investors and as per the advertisement, Coinit advised that the money would be used by the company and its directors to purchase rigid trucks, older horses, newer horses, TLBs, front-end loaders and dumpers, and plant materials.

“However, the funds were used to purchase immovable properties, cars, aircraft, and shares in other companies,” Kara said.

eManzimtoti investor Rowena James, who has taken on the fight for thousands of investors on social media, said she had ploughed two tranches of R210 000 and R140 000 into Coinit, which had promised to purchase trucks that it would lease out for a return on her investment. She said she had received payments from November 2016 until May 2019, when suddenly the payouts were reduced by 50%. She said that as a result, she had incurred debt and now lived in her mother’s garage.

She said she wanted justice for investors and for the book to be thrown at Coinit’s founders.

“I would like to see people, especially the ones who received nothing at all, to at least be reimbursed with their deposit. There is not one person who has done business with them, who has walked away and been satisfied. There were investors who never received contracts, and there were a lot of investors right near the end,” she said.

Another investor, Kwanele Mchunu, of Ladysmith, said he had retired from teaching to explore the trucking industry.

“This opportunity came immediately after I had resigned and I saw the chance to increase my funds to invest in trucking. A lady, who was my colleague, knew that I was interested in trucking and told me about a story she heard about a truck business in Dundee,” he said

“She showed me their advertisement for it, and I phoned them.

They invited me to a briefing that always takes place every day. I went there … it was inviting,” he said.

“I invested 260 000 in Coinit from my pension package of R320 000.

“It went well for 12 months, and then it fell off. Today I can’t buy bread for myself,” he said.

However, he added: “I still don’t think they were scamming us. I think maybe things didn’t work out according to their plan.”

A Durban investor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he “chose to buy two trucks”, for R250 000 and R130 000, respectively, after a friend recommended the firm.

He said his friend had taken the precaution of visiting the firm’s truck yard and workshop in Dundee before investing himself.

“He took videos and showed me plenty of trucks in the yard, and said they are sub-contracting these trucks to the mines,” he said.

“I joined in 2019. I did receive the first payment of almost R26 000 according to the agreement and then, in the second month, the story started and I got half the money for about two months. It stopped after three payments,” he said.

He said he wanted to lodge a claim with the liquidators to get his money back.

Attorney Melo Shabangu, who has previously represented Coinit, had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Liquidator Marcel Nel could not be reached by the time of publication.

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