In most countries, an operator who take deposits from the public and pays interest on the deposit is required to get a licence from the authority. In Singapore, this role is performed by banks and finance companies. It would be illegal for someone to take deposit without a licence.
There is a company that sells gold bars at 20% to 25% higher than the actual value of the gold bar and promises to pay 2% interest a month on the contract. I consider this arrangement to be a hidden form of deposit. If the actual value of the gold bar is $100,000 and the company sells it for $120,000, the company is actually taking in a deposit of $20,000 and paying interest on this deposit.
As the return is so attractive, the early investors are likely to be putting in more money and getting their friends to join the scheme. It is possible that the attractive return to the investors are being financed by the funds provided by the latter investors. In essence, this would be a ponzi scheme.
The law against deposit taking without a licence is to ensure that the the licensed companies have sufficient capital and assets to meet their obligations. They should not be allowed to collect tens or hundreds of millions of deposits and run away with the money.
Since the Monetary Authority of Singapore is responsible to issue licence for approved institutions to take deposits from the public, it should also be their responsibility to take legal action against operators who take deposits without a licence.
I consider the arrangement by the gold bar company to fall within the scope of responsibility of MAS and that MAS should investigate and, if appropriate, charge the operators for infringing the law.
The officials of MAS may not have the resources to carry out criminal investigations. But they can lodge a complaint with the Commercial Affairs Department, for the latter to make the investigation. MAS can also seek the legal advice of the Attorney General's Office. It is important for the three agencies to work together to deal with this issue. So far, my impression is that each party considers that they are not responsible for this matter.
I hope that early action can be taken, before this matter grows too big and the whole arrangement collapses like a house of cards, or rather, like a ponzi scheme.