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Victim of suspected ponzi scheme commits suicide

Victim of suspected ponzi scheme commits suicide
Abdulrasheed Bawa EFCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

•More than 2000 Nigerians affected
•I drank poison to take my life —undergraduate victim
•Investors  alert EFCC, others to assist get their money

 

They looked forlorn and despondent. One of them  has already  committed suicide while some narrowly escaped suicide attempts. They are  still in a state of shock, unsure of what to do.

These are  victims of an investment that went down the drain.

More than 2000 Nigerians invested in a promised mouth watering Return on Investment ,ROI with a Lagos-based at different times.

Some of the victims told Crime Guard that an advertisement was placed by the company  on radios, podcasts and through  other social media influencers, calling for  investment of   funds into the company’s various investment plans which included:  logistics/bike investment, Customer Relationship Management Investment, CRMI; Education  Virtual Reality for Students Investment, VR;. Location  Sponsorship Investment; Real Estate  and Independent Investment.

They were  expected to get a  Return on  Investment, ROI  hovering between 60% to 110% depending on the investment plan and duration.

To ascertain the authenticity of the investment, the investors said  they visited the company’s Ikeja and  Lekki offices in  Lagos and  in  Abuja office too,  depending on the part of the country they resided.

They said some staff and   few motor bikes were  seen within the  premises and along the road, which gave them  the impression that they were investing in a proper company.

They said their confidence was further strengthened with the well-publicized remittances made to the earlier investors.

Danger

The first signal that indicated trouble ahead  for the investors occurred last year, when the company, according to the  investors, started giving excuses on payment of the promised mouth  watering Return on Investment, ROI.

When it finally dawned on them that it was a ponzi scheme, one of the investors identified simply as Stephen, reportedly committed suicide. The deceased was said to have taken a loan of  an undisclosed millions of naira  from the bank which he invested into the company.

About three other investors, among them, David Oyase, also attempted to take their lives when they could not withstand the pressure from their banks, where they took loans.

Among those who invested millions into the company were  : Agboniffo Ohis Iyawere (N3,340,000), Victor Okinedo (N15,340,000), Chibueze Amuchie( N800,000), Bazuaye John and family (N25, 081,000) and  Obiakor Elochukwu Pious and wife (N44,900,00).

Lamentation

Another victim  is Enokela Monday, a 100 level student  of  Air Force Institution of Technology , Kaduna. He disclosed that he invested N1.5 million, an amount meant to pay his school fees , rent and loan he collected from his friend, into the company.

Narrating his experience, he said, “ The business was introduced to  my brother  who stays in Dubai, when he came visiting. I accompanied him to Ikeja  where he paid for the investment.

“He gave me money for house rent, school fees and  pocket money . He also gave me some money  for my mum and  siblings.  I begged him to add some money for me so that I could  also pay for the CRMI promotion investment. He obliged.  I invested all the money given to me into  the company , in addition to a loan from  my  best friend in the Nigeria Defence Academy, to make the money mature for the investment. The total amount I paid into the company’s account was  N1.5 million.

Today, my friend sees  me as a bad person, he thinks I fooled him.

As I speak,  I can’t afford my school fees, house rent  and  money to offset the loan  I collected from my family including my friends.

Suicide experience

“In my frustration, I  drank some quantity of poisonous substance. But for the help of my girlfriend who was around I would have been a forgotten issue. She  gave me enough palm oil that revived me.

My brother could not return to Dubai. He  stayed behind to monitor the situation. He said he can’t   return to Dubai because some of the money he invested in the business  was a loan he collected from his friends over there.  My family is restless, we can barely feed. Depression is setting in”, he stated.

Trouble

In a move to get their money back, some of the aggrieved investors have alerted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Presidency, the House of Representatives and Senate Committees on Public Complaint, and Securities and Exchange Commission, among other relevant government bodies.

In  an open letter to the  EFCC chairman,  Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, some of the  aggrieved investors said, “  the unraveling of the suspected Ponzi scheme all started in the   first week of October 2020, when suddenly, the company started giving excuses why it could not pay. At first, it stated that the Customer Relationship Management Investment, CRMI was oversubscribed and that the company wanted to refund the excesses before payment could resume (however, they still accepted funds from some investors).

Later, it said that the SEC has ordered it  to refund all CRMI investors. After that, it was one story or the other and the managing Director/Chief Executive Officer actually went underground, claiming to have been involved  in an accident, and continued  hiding until it was learnt that EFCC officers had arrested him.

Arrest by EFCC

Part of the letter the investors wrote to EFCC chairman read: “EFCC officers held him in a detention facility at its   Okotie-Eboh Office,  Ikoyi for about a month and then released him on  December 22, 2020. Prior to his release, he  gave investors his word that as soon as he is released, he would sell some of the assets he diverted investors’ monies into and pay up investors.

“To the chagrin of investors, after he was released, he stated clearly that EFCC instructed him not to meet or communicate with investors.  This,the EFCC denied.

Again, he stated that the EFCC has not unfreeze the company’s account as well as his personal account.

It’s worthy to note that the Director, on several occasions, clearly stated that he was not the enemy. That rather,  our  common enemy being the EFCC,  is  the reason  he has not paid  investors. He  was encouraging the investors to stage a protest against the EFCC at Okotie-Eboh Office,  Ikoyi, to release his assets and unfreeze his company’s accounts and his personal account”.

“Chairman sir, with about 7.5 billion naira investors’ funds ,  still under his firm grip. EFCC Lagos has been on the matter for months without prosecution, claiming   they’re still investigating him.  We implore you to kindly act in the interest of the innocent investors”.

Furthermore, the man admitted using some people’s bank accounts to receive funds since EFCC had restricted his bank accounts. He also admitted that he used investor’s funds to invest heavily in properties. It will interest you to know that on three occasions, the investors have offered to help him release his properties which he claimed to have been seized  by EFCC, but he only accepts verbally, but never comes forth with the conditions given by investors. These conditions are as follows:  That he will provide an MoU making commitments for payments, using the assets as collateral if he fails to make payments afterward; That he includes payment plan in this MoU and that he sends this MoU to our various lawyers to review before adoption

”He may just disappear with the entirety of the money should EFCC release the assets and unfreeze his account without the investors being carried along especially in the light of both his company and himself holding investors incommunicado. While there is no doubt that EFCC has no collaboration with him and his company( names withheld) to do away with investors funds, the agency’s long delay to either prosecute him or release/unblock the investors’ funds and the assets purchased with investors’ funds so as to alleviate investor’s plight is making a lot of investors believe otherwise”.

“ We the investors are appealing to the Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, to come to our aide as our only hope to get justice for the investors to ensure that every investors’ monies are refunded. Due to the current hardship in the country some investors have lost their lives through suicide, depressions, and shock on how they are going to pay back the loans they collected with collaterals, many can’t afford to pay their rent anymore, many have relocated to their villages and many have been sent out of schools due to tuition fees not paid and many marriages broken.

Futile efforts

Efforts to reach the company’s MD/CEO, on his mobile line failed , as it was switched off. That of his wife’s was also switched off.

When the EFCC’s  Head, Media and Publicity, Mr  Wilson Uwujaren was contacted, he said, “ The most I can say is that the case is still under investigation”.
(Vanguard)

GTWorld

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