Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms provider has distanced itself from the recently collapsed MMM ponzi scheme. In an advert published today, the company distanced itself from the scheme, saying they wouldn’t be responsible for any losses, MMM subscribers have incurred.
EcoCash has been the primary way for people to deposit into MMM. Not because MMM has any arrangement with Econet, but simply for the convenience this offers. So ponzi scheming is just the tens of ways EcoCash has made life easier – in both good and bad ways.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) issued a public statement of 25 August 2016 warning the public against investing in pyramid and Ponzi schemes We have noted that some of these Pyramid schemes are allegedly advertising in a manner that suggests that the EcoCash facility is a medium for prospective members to deposit their money. This is not correct.
…EcoCash promotes safe and legal transactions but will not be held liable for any losses arising from the use of EcoCash to engage in illegal activities such as ponzi schemes.
I’m not sure which is incorrect here; MMM’s claim that EcoCash can be used as a medium to participate in the scheme (just as Bitcoin can) or Econet’s claim that this is incorrect. EcoCash can indeed be used as a medium to to deposit money into the scheme – that is transferring money to someone higher up in the pyramid levels. EcoCash the company, just isn’t a party to the transaction.
It’s the same way EcoCash can be used as a medium to pay for an illegal product like mbanje, a prostitute’s time or a bribe at a police roadblock. EcoCash is not a party in the illegal transaction, they just participate in ensuring the money gets to the other party and they charge for it. They can’t know what you’re paying for.
MMM Global has been extremely popular in Zimbabwe in the past several months, despite the owners of the scheme declaring openly that it’s “It is a naked scheme, nothing more … People interact with each other and give each other money. For no reason!”
MMM collapsed and all accounts were frozen leading to many Zimbabweans who had invested in the scheme being unable to access their money. According to people with investments in the scheme, they have been told the accounts will be unfrozen on the 15th of September. If MMM is as popular as the attention from both the RBZ, Econet and this popular sites list suggest, it must have contributed something to EcoCash use and indeed Econet’s revenue in the past months.