9 May 2003

Solomon Islands tries to calm angry pyramid scheme investors

9:48 am on 9 May 2003

The Solomon Islands government has asked the Central Bank to rescind last year's advice to the country's commercial banks to be careful in dealing with the Family Charity Trust Fund.

The Fund is seen as a pyramid scheme whose failure to pay investors has led to protests in Honiara, with the crowd blaming the Central Bank governor, Rick Hou, for the Fund's failure to disburse money.

The Central Bank issues banking licences but it's in the power of the commercial banks to determine who it wants to accept as customers.

Under pressure from the prime minister seeking to calm the situation, the bank governor has now written a new letter to the banks saying he is withdrawing his advice.

But he adds that his advice is being given under duress.

A group calling itself the Pressure Committee has been besieging the Central Bank in Honiara over the frustration of its members to get a return on their investment.