The Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit (VFIU) is currently liaising with the new business operating in Port Vila offering financial commitment to its members.

VFIU says the business initially approached the Unit for consultation but after the meeting, it was identified that the activity would involve a confined group of eight Handicraft mamas.

However, on Thursday VFIU identified that the activity was open to the general public and not just the group of mamas.

This has led the Financial Intelligence Unit to summon the owner for a meeting scheduled for Monday next week (June 28).

The VFIU revealed this in response to Daily Post’s front page article yesterday and in a bid to raise awareness on ‘Get-rich-quick’ schemes that are currently operating and offering financial services in Vanuatu.

As published, the company that is reportedly registered under the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) as Bless To Be Blessed, is promising a huge return within 21 working days for cash deposits, in particular, depositing VT5,000 would get a return of around VT38,000 in 21 working days.

Pursuant to section 2 (r) (iv) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 13 of 2014 (AML&CTF Act) captures these services as business of issuing financial guarantees and commitments.

Such a service provider is obligated to register with the VFIU as it is offering a commitment to pay a return to its members on a future date.

“This office is aware of the new business operating in Port Vila offering financial commitment to its members,” the VFIU conveyed.

“We are currently liaising with the business to better understand its activity and assess any ML/FT risk it may be exposed to.

“In the event a risk is identified, this office will direct the business to mitigate, manage or prevent the said risk.

“Further, to ensure protection of the public, it is encouraged that potential members seek confirmation on the registration/licensing of the business, confirmation on its organizational structure and management, receive and understand the business’ written prospectus, check the process of raising and addressing member complaints, confirmation of regular audited reporting and ability of members to withdraw membership funds.”

The VFIU has a national role of regulating and supervising entities against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes in Vanuatu, and also safeguard the public against bogus get rich quick schemes.