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COOPERATIVES IN 'GET RICH QUICK' SCHEMES FROZEN


PUTRAJAYA: The government has frozen the accounts of three cooperatives believed to have duped more than 5,000 members into investing about RM80 million in illegal schemes.
Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar identified the cooperatives as Koperasi Taqwa Malaysia Berhad (Kotaqwa), Koperasi Usahawan Malaysia Berhad (KUMB) and Koperasi Birr Berhad (Birr).
The headquarters of all three cooperatives are in the Klang Valley.
Noh said the cooperatives had been offering illegal "get-rich-quick" schemes to its members and the public since 2006.
About 20 officers from the ministry, Malaysian Cooperatives Commission, Bank Negara and the police raided the three premises at about 10am on Tuesday during Ops Sempurna, which lasted about 12 hours.
"Investigations showed that they had been running an investment scheme called the Special Al-Mudharabah Savings and Poultry Entrepreneur Scheme since their formation.
"These two schemes offered lucrative returns of between eight and 12 per cent per month on the investments," Noh said after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding on educational co-operation between his ministry and the Higher Education Ministry yesterday.
To convince investors to part with their money, Noh said the cooperatives resorted to all sorts of means.
"Members could invest as much as they wanted and were told that the cooperatives would implement projects such as cow rearing, seaweed planting, deep sea fishing and supply of consumer items."
He said the cooperatives had committed an offence under the Cooperatives Act 1992 and their board of directors would be investigated.
Noh said the ministry was keeping an eye on a few more cooperatives believed to be running similar schemes.
He added that those who had doubts about projects or schemes offered by cooperatives could check with the commission by calling Zahari Omar at 03-20935098 at extension 5805 or Rohana Mazlan at 5828.
Commission executive chairman Datuk Mangsor Saad said monitoring of the cooperatives' activities had been carried out since July following queries and complaints from investors.
The commission had issued statements in the media and on its website warning the public to be cautious.
He said statements had been recorded from the cooperatives' board of directors and senior executives.
"We have seized documents, investment statements and personal computers from the cooperatives."
Mangsor also said the cooperatives' accounts had been frozen to facilitate investigations.
"We will also freeze their assets. This operation is our second stage of monitoring. We will charge the directors in court but they will have to be suspended first."

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