CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned individuals not to invest their money in groups or individuals offering interests higher than what banks and other financial institutions provide to their clients.
“If it’s too good to be true, please investigate before investing so you will not regret if your money disappears,” said Atty. Frederick Enopia, the officer-in-charge of the SEC regional office serving the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
In an interview on Monday, Enopia said they have been receiving reports that a group called “KAPA” or “Kabus Padatuon” (enrich the poor) has been enticing people to invest money in the form of “donation” for a 30 percent monthly return.
KAPA is registered with the SEC as a “religious corporation”, Enopia said.
Citing the findings of SEC investigation on KAPA, Enopia said the religious group also operates the KAPA-Co Convenience Store and General Merchandise and KAPA Worldwide Ministry.
SEC has recently issued a cease-and-desist order against KAPA and its subsidiaries “after finding substantial evidence that it has been offering and selling securities in the form of investment contracts without the necessary license.”
Although KAPA is a registered corporation, SEC said that its certificate of incorporation dated March 3, 2017, explicitly stated that “it is not authorized to undertake business activities requiring a secondary license such as acting as broker or dealer in securities, investment house, and close-end or open-end investment company.”
“Despite its lack of authority to offer and sell securities, KAPA recruited and encouraged members to ‘donate’ any amount in exchange for a 30% monthly return, based on the ‘Certificate of Membership with Deed of Donation’ members received upon joining,” the agency said.
Acting on numerous complaints, Enopia said they sent an investigator from SEC to validate the reports in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, sometime last year.
The SEC investigator, Enopia said, was able to verify complaints from former KAPA members who alleged that they did not receive their monthly returns as promised.
The evidence compiled on the ground, Enopia said, became the basis for the SEC en banc to issue the cease-and-desist order on February 14, 2019.
Enopia said the order is nationwide in scope and it can be implemented in areas where KAPA is operating, especially in the Caraga region, General Santos, and Davao.
In Northern Mindanao, KAPA has reportedly been inviting potential investors in Bukidnon.
The order has directed KAPA and its officials and those connected with it to cease from promoting its investment scheme through the internet and remove promotional presentations online.
“The SEC also barred KAPA, its affiliates and subsidiaries, including its directors and officers, representatives and the persons acting for and in their behalf from disposing of their remaining properties and other assets for the benefit of the investors,” the commission said in the order.
For his part, KAPA founder Pastor Joel Apolinario said SEC has wrongfully investigated his group.
In a statement posted on YouTube dated February 23 Apolinario said all the complaints filed against KAPA have all been dismissed--save for one.
He also argued that KAPA is no different from other religious organizations that accept donations from their members, only that in their case they provide returns for members while other religious groups do not.
Apolinario also accused his detractors as the ones making noise to smear KAPA and his name.
“They broadcast what they see as wrong, but only whisper the good things that KAPA has done,” Apolinario said.
Photo from Bombo Radyo