When we last checked in on TVI Express in Namibia, the Bank of Namibia had declared TVI Express to be a pyramid scheme.
In response to this, Namibian TVI members threatened legal action against the bank. Laughing it off, the Bank of Namibia (BoN) fired off yet another press release warning the Namibian public about joining or participating in TVI.
Putting the lawyers away, this time TVI members claimed that the bank itself had no jurisdiction over them because in Namibia, TVI members were all operating as sole traders.
That didn’t hold up either and that prompted the lawyers to be dragged out again, this time claiming that ‘TVI Express does not take funds from the public‘.
An MLM company that charges membership fees and doesn’t receive funds from the public?
That was back in November 2010 and since then, things have been relatively quiet over in Namibia regarding TVI. Well, that is until a few days ago the BoN decided to officially maintain ‘its position that the popular Travel Venture International (TVI) Express is a pyramid scheme‘.
Cue angry mobs and fireworks! Only this time, Namibian TVI Express member’s defence of the company is even more ludicrous.
In officially maintaining its position that TVI Express is a pyramid scheme, the bank announced that it ‘would be forced to go after those engaged in the scheme, since it contravenes Namibian banking laws‘.
One might question why this took nine months to eventuate and ask what the bank has been doing in the meantime since it first announced that TVI was a pyramid scheme, but alas sometimes the gears of regulation grind excruciatingly slow.
In the meantime, Namibian TVI Express members have been actively promoting TVI in Namibia, despite the BoN warning that those caught promoting or participating in TVI Express face a ‘N$1,000,000 ($145,000 AUD) fine or 10 year imprisonment‘.
With things looking like they’re about to kick up a notch in Namibia, TVI Express members haven’t been sitting idle. In response to the BoN’s official clarification, head of TVI Namibia, Magnus Nangombe (photo right) claims that
they have restructured TVI activities to operate according to the continent.
There are many changes made and we in Namibia would also check what changes are needed. (We) are not afraid of the agendas that would meet (us) in a bid to stop TVI Express operations, neither do (we) foresee any problem once the changes are announced.
A restructure of activities you say? Has TVI gone ahead and made changes to it’s blatantly obvious pyramid scheme business model?
The changes Nangombe is talking about ‘revolve around redefinition of terms involving the taking of money from the public‘.
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. As far as TVI Express goes, it’s business as usual – but in
replacing some words with more ambiguous generic terms redefining certain terminology, TVI now hope that they will be certified legal.
To put it another way, TVI Express have sought to exempt themselves from Namibian banking laws by mere wordsmith technicality.
‘It’s not murder your honor, honest… my arm, holding the
knife harmless metal object just had a momentary lapse of concentration! I’m innocent!’
Do Namibian TVI Express members really think this kind of defense is going to hold up?
You can redefine whatever terminology you want, but at the end of the day unless you change TVI’s business model – it’s still a blatant pyramid scheme.
Nangombe also seems to be implying that this whole regulatory affair is somewhat of a conspiracy theory against TVI. He claims that
the investigation appears to be an agenda, an issue driven by consumer watch [bodies] who are not in favour of the TVI Express business model.
The South Africa Reserve Bank never had a problem with TVI Express before until the renewed agenda from consumer watch bodies.
Consumer watch bodies, whose job it is to watch out for the consumer, initiated regulatory action against a blatant pyramid scheme?!
How dare they!