HAMBA KAHLE NYAMBOSE
To say Acti ng Ludzidzi ni Governor Timothy Velabo Mtetwa died a disappointed man would be an understatement as he never got to see his E100 000 investment with Sharemax bear fruits.
Mtetwa’s death marks the loss of the 13th member of local investors who committed over E24 million through now defunct Isambulo Insurance Brokers as purchases of shares to various South African property developments sold by Sharemax.
In all, 152 individuals, as well as about four organisations make up the local members who were promised returns of up to 12 per cent during the height of the Sharemax product making waves in the country.
His investment’s maturity date could not be ascertained as he has over the years declined to reveal when he invested the money and date of maturity of his share certificate whereas operations at Sharemax were halted in 2010 resulting in the monthly interest which was paid to members stopping.
In November 2013, this publication revealed how Mtetwa was one of the members who expressed disappointment about the loss of E100 000 which he ploughed into the legally registered Isambulo Insurance after being convinced by now deceased erstwhile Liqoqo Council Member Reverend Abednigo Dlamini.
Mtetwa, during the meeting of investors in 2013, refused to be interviewed save to express his disappointment, stating that he had been robbed.
Over the years, whenever he was called about developments and feedback on his investments, he would state that he did not want his name to appear in articles as the loss of his money remained a painful issue.
He was last interviewed last year where he stated that he was losing hope of getting his investment which would have reached nearly E200 000, had he saved it in a bank where it would have attracted interest.
Of note is that the elderly traditional statesman was not the only member of his family to have lost a sizeable amount as one of his sons is listed in the records of the 152 individuals to have put in E1.5million.
When the chairman of the investors Benjamin Sibandze was called this past week, he could only mourn the death of Mtetwa saying he was not able to break confidence about amounts lost.
“I can only send condolences to the Mtetwa family as talking about the lost money at this stage would be insensitive,” he said.
On the other hand, one of the investors, a businessman, who also contributed to the E1.5million was contacted, he said Mtetwa’s death lost them a lot of leverage as they had hoped local authorities would assist because of his status.
“He was vital in our cause as his name carried a lot of weight,” he said, adding how he too was slowly losing hope of getting his money back.
“I would be living off the interest had I saved it in the bank,” he said before stating that talking about the money made him ill.
“My life has been hell after losing that money as I had to start over again and it is a struggle,” he said.
Most of the investors committed their savings and retirement packages in the failed investment after satisfying themselves that Isambulo Insurance Brokers was legitimately registered with the regulatory authority.
“I invested all that money after extensive prodding and investigations,” the investor said yesterday. He said his decision to invest came about after hearing how his former colleagues were coining interest, immediately after transferring their savings to the South African account which belonged to Sharemax.
“I still insist that due to the legitimate registration of Is am bu lo Investments which sold us the product, and the fact that these were prop- erty investment shares, we never joined a pyramid scheme but lost our money to unscrupulous business people,” he said.
Some of the organisations which committed money to the failed investment include Hlalawati Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (E4million); Swaziland Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (SUFIAW) (E100 000) former SAPPI employees; former SPTC employees as well as various pens i oners a nd business people.
Of note, as it happens in pyramid schemes, the first people who invested were able to get two to three interest payments before SHAREMAX operations were halted after they were banned from collecting deposits by the South African Reserve Bank.
This is despite the fact that their share certificates state that their investments would mature in stages of seven to 10 years.
This fact has been touted by the former SAPPI Usuthu workers who have over the years decried how they were duped into investing after the company was invited by management prior to their retrenchment, something which they said validated the legitimacy of Isambulo Insurance Brokers led by Dlamini.
I invested all that money after extensive prodding and investigations,” the investor said yesterday. He said his decision to invest came about after hearing how his former colleagues were coining interest, immediately after transferring their savings to the South African account which belonged to Sharemax.
The late Timothy Velabo Mtetwa.