FMT: RM70,000 savings to treat disabled child vanishes in kootu scheme

Ruhaya (centre) said she was promised 60% returns on her investment and had hoped to use the money to treat her child, who has spina bifida.

PETALING JAYA: A RM70,000 investment in a kootu scheme has vanished into thin air, making a woman and her two siblings the latest victims in the continuing saga of the “Sapiza” kootu scheme.

The 45-year-old woman, who only wanted to be identified as Ruhaya, said she was promised up to 60% in returns by the kootu leader, but in the end, lost all her savings instead.

“I wanted the returns to help me pay costs to treat my child who has spina bifida,” she told FMT.

Another victim, Amira, 36, said she joined the scheme to help fund her sibling’s studies in the United Kingdom.

“My husband and I contributed to the fund to help pay all sorts of things, including rent. I hope the authorities will act against this syndicate,” she said.

Johor Malaysian International Humanitarian Organisation (MIHO) coordinator Suhaid Mustaqim claimed the kootu scheme organiser in question appeared to be targeting those in hardship, especially families struggling with medical issues.

“One victim used their diabetic father’s money to invest in the scheme. The victim was hoping for a quick return in the hopes of providing better treatment for the father.

“In the end, the victim’s father died while waiting for the money for his treatment,” he said.

Yesterday, activist Hishamuddin Hashim claimed that some 30 people had lost more than RM600,000 to a kootu scheme known as the “Saving Extra Sapiza” fund.

He alleged that a woman known as “Sapiza” is believed to have been behind the scheme, in which victims had been cheated of tens of millions of ringgit.

Hishamuddin said his group, MIHO, had received 60 complaints from victims who included civil servants, professionals and housewives, with their losses ranging from RM7,000 to RM200,000.

The fund, which has been active since 2015, offered “extra” returns of up to 60% to each player, with three different payment plans, starting from RM250.

The group calls for the masterminds of fraudulent kootu funds to be jailed instead of being let off with a fine.

A kootu scheme, which is also called tontine, involves having a group of people contribute weekly or monthly to a pooled savings, with each member making a bid to collect the pool after the leader has collected the first pool.

Kootu schemes are illegal under the Kootu Funds (Prohibition) Act.

Afzani Tual (Ajan)

I take notes of happenings in my life in hope as a piece of my life betters, so does yours.

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