EcoBit not working with UNDP

Melati A. Jalil Yasmin Ramlan

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Malaysia has denied any involvement with cryptocurrency investment company, EcoBit, saying no emission reduction projects using its mechanisms are taking place in Malaysia.

UNDP communications analyst Ahmad Hafiz Osman said the company, which has been promoting the Kelantan forest carbon-offset project, had also used UN logos on its website without permission.

The logos, however, were removed a few days ago before UNDP issued a letter to them, he said.

“UNDP in Malaysia is not involved and does not have any partnerships with Ecobit. There are no UN-REDD projects or UNFCCC approved REDD+ projects in Malaysia.

“As of now, we have not been notified of any UN agencies who have partnered with Ecobit. Hence, the use of the UN logo and its agencies is not permitted,” Ahmad said in a statement to The Malaysian Insight.

REDD-plus is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a mechanism initiated by UN to reduce emissions in the forestry sector.

A board adviser of EcoBit, Tang Too Siah, is also the ceo of Climate Protectors Sdn Bhd, a green technology company that signed an agreement with the Kelantan government in January for the country’s first carbon credit trading scheme involving one million acres of forest land.

Climate Protectors will be rewarded with a 30-year concession and the deal will see profit-sharing between the state government and the company. The amount of land involved covers about 25% of Kelantan’s total land area.

Both Climate Protector and EcoBit were listed on BNM’s Financial Consumer Alert service on June 23, as “companies and websites which are neither authorised nor approved under the relevant laws and regulations administered by BNM”.

Where is Climate Protectors office?

A check by The Malaysian Insight today revealed that there was no Climate Protectors office at the address provided on its website. For EcoBit, no office address or contact numbers were stated on its website.

When contacted on the phone, a receptionist at Climate Protectors did not want to reveal the location of its office. She said any questions on the matter should be referred to Tang.

Tang said the company will address the issues raised tomorrow when reached.

“We have just finished a meeting with the Kelantan excos. We will release a statement tomorrow,” he said.

Earlier today, the Kelantan government refused to address any of the points raised by critics against the state’s carbon offset deal.

Its Mentri Besar Ahmad Yakob instead denied allegations on social media that the state had instructed companies, including Climate Protector, to collect funds to finance its carbon trading project.

Environmental group, Sahabat Alam Malaysia previously said the Kelantan forest carbon-offset deal formed the backbone of EcoBit’s initial coin offering.

Its president SM Mohamed Idris said EcoBit’s website referred to the REDD-plus mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as the United Nations-REDD Programme, as ready proof for the carbon offset project model.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the agreement did not comply with the terms on carbon trading set by the UN.

The minister said all states should get their information about REDD programmes from Putrajaya. – July 5, 2017.

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