Authorities have launched a countrywide probe on companies operating suspected Ponzi schemes in urban centres in breach of the Banking Act.

The firms, which are operating without banking licences, are offering unbelievable interests of up to 100 percent within a few weeks.

Some disguise as marketing firms for the purposes of registration, but go on to take money from people, offering banking services illegally.

This follows last week’s raid of KWD Digital Marketing in Harare with the central bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit confirming the firm had no banking licence as required by law.

The company was offering to double deposits in a month, attracting scores of people who swamped the premises at 147 Freedom Legacy Way in Gunhill.

Police also arrested 65 potential investors for crowding the premises in breach of social distancing regulations.

Some were not wearing face masks, while others had no documents allowing them to travel during the lockdown.

Further investigations also resulted in the company’s employees being picked up for questioning.

Police are now hunting down the company’s directors whom they want to interview regarding the legality of the company’s operations.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the schemes were now widespread and investigations had widened.

“In consultation with the RBZ, we are also looking into statuses of other schemes dotted around the country.

“We have information that some are operating in Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Mutare, Masvingo and other urban centres.

“They approach a number of people claiming to be registered with the RBZ, taking money in the process,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

Last week, the central bank warned people against such schemes saying they were illegal and most likely to collapse in no time.

state media