OVER 30 people who were also swindled in an online village banking business have applied to join a case in which 59 investors have sued eight administrators of “MyZamfund village banking” for allegedly defrauding them of their investments and expected returns amounting to over K6 million.

The 34 have submitted to the Lusaka High Court that they are interested parties to this action as they were also investors in the said business.

The alleged investment capital and the total amount due for the 34 ranges from K1,500 for one of them to as high as K300,000 for another.

In this matter, 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 amounting to 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.

And now, 34 more people want to be joined to the case.

According to an affidavit in support of summons for joinder of party, Landani Chiwaya, one of the intended plaintiffs stated that sometime between July 2019 and September 2020, the defendants fraudulently created and operated an online business using a fraudulent and unregistered trade name called “MYZAMFUND Village Banking”.

He stated that the defendants misrepresented the facts about “MyZamfund” village banking by purporting that it was a genuine business when in fact it was a scheme/scam designed to recruit a lot of people and thereafter steal the investments by shutting down the system after they had stolen the monies through peering themselves by use of different sim cards.

Chiwaya stated that they were interested parties to this action as they were also investors in the said business together with the 59 and were also swindled of their monies by the defendants’ fraudulent conduct.

In their defence, the eight defendants had claimed that they were merely participants in the online business and were part of the WhatsApp groups only as group administrators.

They also denied that ‘MyZamfund Village Banking’ was the trade name but that there was an online platform on which participants of village banking under a group called MyZamfund were being paired on a peer to peer basis.

Ezeokah and others argued that the plaintiffs also actively recruited participants to join the peer to peer village banking that was being conducted on the MyZamfund Village banking online business.

The defendants stated that the plaintiffs would be put to strict proof over allegations that they invested K6,760,245 and will categorically state that none of the 59 deposited any money on the online system.

“The first defendant (Ezeokah) will also state that the terms and conditions for joining the online business platform in order to be paired on a peer-to-peer village banking and the fact that the success of the system was dependent on the participants and not the defendants,” they stated.

The eight stated that the minimum amount that could be exchanged on a peer-to-peer basis was K300 whereas the maximum was K50,000 per person.

They further stated that the exchange of money was on a peer-to-peer basis and there was no money that was paid into the online platform.

The defendants stated that the online platform was never brought down by any of them as alleged by the plaintiffs.