Choki Wangmo 

Police are investigating seven cases of Tallwin Life Plan Ponzi scheme that lured many Bhutanese from the rural pockets of the country to invest with promises of huge returns. 

During the question-and-answer session at the National Assembly on June 20, Home Affairs Minister Ugyen Dorji said that despite repeated public notifications urging people to refrain from joining the fraudulent practice, the number of members joining the scheme has not reduced. 

Lyonpo said that the ministry has now involved the police too in investigating such cases. “Unless we take a concerted effort with responsible individuals, it is difficult to curb such illegal schemes.”  

It is also because the promoters use social media which is popular among rural people. The propagators of the scheme that has become popular in January this year use social platforms such as Telegram and Wechat to gather members and claim 300,000 members from across the country. 

According to the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), the Ponzi scheme violates Section 11 of the Financial Service Act 2011 which states that individuals cannot offer financial services without the proper licence.  

In a recent public notification, RMA said that the authority has frozen the accounts of promoters in the country. 

There are six types of income in the Tallwin Life Income Plan- sponsor bonus, boosting board income, team-building bonus, team promotion bonus, team performance bonus, and auto pool income. A person has to pay Nu 2,700 to join the scheme, after which if they have four downliners they can walk away from the scheme with Nu 6,000. 

Past members of the scheme say that the idea of lucrative returns with minimal investments was appealing to them. “We hear about friends and relatives who earned from the scheme and we are excited to join it too,” one said. 

Another added that the local government leaders could be more impactful in spreading the messages against the scheme as they work closely with the people. “Public notifications go unnoticed and sometimes we don’t understand it,” a woman from a remote village said. 

Word-of-mouth played a crucial role in spreading the Ponzi scheme in the villages. 

The downliners were promised an annual earning of Nu 150,000. 

Some victims of the QNET pyramid scheme, who invested Nu 120,000 are still fighting court cases to obtain their invested amounts.