Police arrest 58 in Darfur investment scam probe

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Police investigating an investment scam in Sudan’s Darfur region have collected bounced cheques and receipts for up to $27 million and arrested 58 people, the justice minister said yesterday.

Thousand of investors have lost money in a pyramid-style “Ponzi scheme” which collapsed earlier this year, UN officials and residents told Reuters.  At least three people died after investors took to the streets of the capital of North Darfur state, El Fasher, on Sunday to demand their money back and clashed with security forces.

Justice minister Abdel Basit Sabderat said police were hunting for missing assets across Darfur and beyond and working through about 3,700 complaints from investors.

The statement from a senior minister underlined how seriously Khartoum is taking the unrest following the collapse of El Fasher’s “El Mawasir” market — the nickname for the scam using a local term for pipes which is slang for a swindle.

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