OVER 50 people have sued eight administrators of an online business called ‘MyZamfund village banking’ for allegedly swindling them of their investments and expected returns amounting to over K6 million.

Davies Musonda and 58 others have sued Prosper Sylva Ezeokah, a Nigerian national resident in Zambia, and Zambian nationals; Rodrick Musonda, Nelly Zimba, Luyando Dyololo, Joseph Mwaba, Joshua Chikonko, George Chishimba and Chilufya Mulolo as the defendants, who created and operated the said online business called ‘MyZamfund village banking’.

The 59 who are investors in the said online business are seeking an order that the defendants pay them back the money in the sum K6,760,245 which was allegedly fraudulently collected from them.

They also want an order and declaration that the eight defendants’ conduct to illegally collect and withhold their money was extremely deceptive, fraudulent and that it deprived them of their legitimate revenue.

The 59 further want the court to order the eight to render a complete account of all the business transactions and monies they fraudulently and dishonestly collected from them and an order that the defendants open the website and WhatsApp group to allow them to access their accounts.

The plaintiffs further want, among others, an order that the defendants surrender all the properties, motor vehicles, server and other gadgets which were purchased through monies generated from them.

In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Musonda and 58 others stated that sometime between July 2019 and September 2020, the defendants fraudulently created and operated or administered an online business called ‘MyZamfund village banking’.

They stated that the defendants advertised the business concept to them and assured them that the said business was an extremely good online village banking business.

The plaintiffs stated that they joined the defendants’ said online business and invested different sums of money amounting to K6,760,245, adding that the said online village banking business was based on the principles of Peer to Peer village banking/savings wherein links were shared through mobile phones and at the same time, used to create the said Peer to Peer (P2P) online network business.

“Each member of the group was required to deposit a certain amount of money through the aforementioned village banking group. The said members/investors were then peered with others,” read the claim.

The 59 stated that the defendants fraudulently misrepresented to them that after investing a certain amount of money, every investor would keep on receiving returns of 50 percent of the investment every after 20 days, which period was fraudulently increased to 25 days and later 30 days.

They stated that at the maturity of the investment, one or two investors’ funds were used to pay the qualifying member his or her returns of 50 percent in relation to the amount invested.

The plaintiffs further stated that the defendants shared a promo through a voice note on the WhatsApp groups that members needed to reinvest sums of money to support the business and refer new members to the group in order to stand a chance to win different prizes including; 40 and 32 inch television sets, washing machines, deep freezers, water dispensers, Samsung phones, 10 kgs sugar, 10 kgs breakfast mealie meal and many other items.

They stated that as a result, they (plaintiffs) immensely invested in the project.

The 59 plaintiffs claimed that the eight defendants concealed some information or chose to provide incorrect information to them for the purpose of tricking them out of the money.

They added that they later realized that there was actually no such promotion running and none of them was awarded any of the prizes.

The plaintiffs stated that the defendants used part of the money to buy another server and started another platform called “Global Village Banking” operating under the same IP address as “ MyZamFund” village banking which prior to the launch of the said network, the defendants did not announce.

They stated that the defendants fraudulently and deliberately caused the online group to collapse by switching off or muted all communication including the WhatsApp groups and as such the plaintiffs were left with no access to their investments records.

The plaintiffs further stated that the defendants fraudulently and disobediently deserted the group and they have since switched off all their phones after collecting huge investments from them.

“The defendants have since shut down the website and WhatsApp platforms thereby blocking some of the investors from downloading their accounts and evidence. The plaintiffs have since been swindled of their investments and expected returns amounting to K6,760,245,” they stated.