Mbabane-The Status Capital Building Society based in Ezulwini has thrown cold water on baseless allegations that their company is on the brink of collapse after two directors disappeared with millions of Emalangeni belonging to member investors.
It is alleged that in order to get access to the building society’s millions, the two directors started a money loaning company known by the Independent News. This particular company was started while they were still directors at Status Capital Building Society. They then used the investors’ money at Status Capital to bank roll the money loaning company. Through this system they were able to transfer multiple millions from Status Capital into the money loaning company’s account and then disappear with the cash.
The word is that those investors that are aware of the situation at Status Capital are said to be in a panic as they attempt to with draw their investments from the financial entity. However, they are being faced with regulations that determine how the money can be accessed from the financial institution.
The regulations are firstly that, in order to make a withdrawal of one’s financial investment, a 15% charge is deducted from the investment. Secondly, there is a three -month waiting period before the investor can get their money. These are some of the challenges that investors are having to grapple with as they try to break away from Status Capital.
The allegations have been made by faceless rumour mongers who through word of mouth have ensured that the information reaches the attention of the media. Upon reaching the Independent News, the veracity of the information was put to the test as a thorough investigation was carried out to determine its truth.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) who are the regulators of all non-banking financers in the country were engaged as the first port of call. This was in order to establish whether they were at all aware of anything untoward happening at the Status Capital Building Society.
Responding to our questionnaire, the Head of Stakeholder and Consumer Affairs at the FSRA, Mbuso Gamedze, responded in no uncertain terms that “Status Capital is a licensed building society in terms of the FSRA Act, 2010 and the Building Societies Act, 1962. There is currently no process of winding up the society. It is the obligation of any regulated entity to inform the Authority of any changes in senior Management and Board of Directors. The Authority has not been informed of any changes in the governance structure of the entity.”
When further quizzed regarding the processes does FSRA applies when vetting non-banking financers to ensure that they are eligible to carry out their investment operations; as per their mandate of ensuring maximum protection of the public. Gamedze’s response was that “the FSRA is empowered by section 37 of the Act to ensure that all authorized financial services are managed, controlled, and owned by fit and proper persons. This has been operationalized through various licensing requirements at market entry. It is a process that is standard across all entrants.”
Turning to the building society itself, the Managing Director, Michael Mbetse was asked to disclose the facts regarding allegations that senior officials from the organisation, Status Capital Building Society had disappeared with a substantial amount of money. Some of the money belonging to investors in the entity? His response was that “Status Capital Building Society is a financial services provider that is licensed by the FSRA, and complies to the laws governing a building society in Eswatini. The governance is clearly defined in the policies and structures of Status Capital Building Society and all investments are legal and approved.
There are none-executive Directors who tendered their resignation to the Society. The resignation follows the due process of consideration by the Board of Directors and the process for approval will be concluded at the next board seating.”
Mbetse went on to say “there is no evidence of financial resource belonging to the Status Capital Building Society that the former Directors eloped with since the Society has all investments in the books. Investments that were authorised by the former Directors are placed in specific institutions and at any point the shareholders can have the information.”
Mbetse emphasised that “the Status Capital Building Society will continue to operate at full potential and exploring opportunities for growth under the governance of the law. The Society has put in place solid strategies for growth, diversification, new member acquisition and bringing in the necessary skills to manage the operation. This is proof that going forward the Society will strengthen its operations and as well as fully comply to the regulations.”