OVER 100 refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge are reported to have lost US$15 000 through a Harare-based ponzi scheme.
The company identified as CROWD 1, whose directorship is still unknown, is alleged to have offered all those who invested in the scheme up to 50 percent interest on their investments.
The company which was fronted by Mrs Tryphine Ndairagije who also runs a chain of tuckshops at Tongogara Refugee Camp allegedly approached the refugees to invest their money in return for interests last year.
The refugees accuse Mrs Ndairagije of collecting their money, but failing to deliver on the promised interest as well as refunding all those who invested.
It is now four months of waiting.
The refugees also argued that the money they were prejudiced amount to US$15 000.
Efforts to get their investments back are being met with threats of being reported to authorities or blocking of visas for European and United States of America destinations as well as scholarships for their children.
Tongogara Refugee Camp administrator, Mr Johane Mhlanga, said the matter is still to be brought to the attention of the camp authorities.
“The matter is still to be reported to us and if anything is brought to our attention, we will furnish you with the details,” he said when contacted for a comment this week.
One of the disgruntled refugees, Mr Joseph Bosco, a Democratic Republic of Congo national, told The Manica Post in an unsolicited interview that depositors are being threatened whenever they demand their money back.
“The CROWD 1 cashier, Mrs Ndairagije introduced this ponzi scheme to us last year. It has now been four months of waiting for our money as well the promised interests. She (Mrs Ndairagije) is the one who introduced the scheme to us, but when we approach her demanding our interests, she threaten us with either reporting us to the authorities or stopping the processing of our visa applications to the USA or Europe.
“She is the one who came and collected the money. She also opened accounts for us.
‘‘Many refugees invested in the scheme after promises of interests on their investments. We were told that the more you invest, the higher the interest margins will be, but up to now nothing has been paid to us,” he said.
Another complainant who declined to be named, said: “The CROWD 1 team which was being led by Mrs Ndairagije collected our money, but they are telling us that we cannot get our dues back because they are connected to law enforcement agents as well as immigration authorities. I think we lost out through this scheme. Our hands are tied because no one wants to be deported or denied visas to go abroad.”
Contacted for a comment, Mrs Ndairagije expressed ignorance over the ponzi scheme and said those raising the allegations against her were out to tarnish her image.
“I don’t know anything on what you are talking about. I can only talk to you if you avail the names of people who raised these allegations against me,” she said before switching off her cellphone.