SEC DG, Arunmah Oteh
An alleged illegal fund manager, Avenues to Wealth Limited’s office premises was Tuesday sealed off by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), after several months of complaints by subscriber to the fund.
It took a combined team of both plain and uniformed police officers from both the commission and the Oduduwa Police Command Headquarters in Ikeja, to seal off the fund manager’s office, which is located within the serene Olufunmilola Okikolu Street, off Toyin Street Ikeja, Lagos.
Assistant Director, Enforcement and Compliance, SEC and leader of the enforcement team, Mr. Benard Ebe, said the commission had in the last three months being inundated with series of complaints of fraud from investors in the fund manager’s scheme, noting that to guide against other people falling victim, the commission had to move swiftly.
He said that for any entity to engage in any manner of fund management, such organisation must as duty and process of law, register its operations with the commission, insisting that “anything short of that would amount to illegal operations and which is another form of a Ponzi Scheme.”
He added: “They lure people to bring their money to them and in the process they pay dividend or interest as the case may be. From there they pay the initial investors in the scheme, but when the investors have brought a lot other investors on board of the scheme, they will shut their premises, thereby making several investors lose millions of naira.”
The SEC’s move saw four top officials of the fund managers, including the Managing Director, Mr. Adeolu Akinyemi, being taken into custody at the Area ‘F’ Police Command.
Ebe added: “Three month ago details of the operations of the company came to the Commission. Section 153 of the Investment and Security Act (ISA) showed that operators of such fund must obtain license, to ensure close monitoring by the commission and more so, they are expected to file returns to the commission.”
However, one of the officials who claimed to be advisor to the Avenues to Wealth, but who did not disclose his name, said their operation was registered with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture as a Corporative Society.
Other schemes engage in by the fund managers, include, Network Signup Vouchers, Estate Rentals, Real Estate, Retail Supermarket Electronics, IT Gadgets, Fund Co-operative, our place investment, ATM 20, ATM 40, Travel and Telecoms scheme, amongst others.