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Bill offers a ray of hope for pyramid scheme victims

By - | September 2nd 2012

Many Kenyans who lost billions of shillings in the pyramid schemes scam were no doubt keenly watching how Parliament would handle the debate on the Prohibition of Pyramid Schemes Bill.

It was therefore gratifying to note that when the MPs concluded debate on the Bill last week, there were calls on the Government to compensate victims of the collapsed schemes.

Ikolomani MP Bony Khalwale, who moved the Bill, said there was room for the Government to compensate the thousands of victims who had invested their money in such outfits.

He said money and assets acquired through the schemes are still held up in banks and the assets could be traced.

The history of pyramid schemes is a sad one to many Kenyans who had invested their hard-earned cash there in the hope of making a fortune as they had been made to believe by profiteers. An investigative report tabled in Parliament detailed how nearly 150,000 investors lost Sh8.2 billion in two years to the profiteers in 12 pyramid schemes, some of whom were claimed to be prominent individuals in society.

Many Kenyans are yet to recover from the losses incurred.

In other instances, the loss of money led to disruption and breakups in many families while other people were reported to have committed suicide.

It is reassuring the new Bill proposes tough penalties to curb bogus get-rich-quick pyramid schemes.

Any person convicted of promoting or participating in pyramid schemes will be liable to a fine of Sh10 million or imprisonment for 10 years, or both, if Parliament enacts the Bill.

As Dr Khalwale said, many who lost their money in the bogus schemes would hope there would be light at the end of the tunnel in helping to recover their cash.

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