Stephen, an investor (surname witheld) recently committed suicide after falling victim to an alleged ponzi scheme where he invested resources he borrowed from the bank.
The deceased was one of over 2,000 persons who fell victim to the scheme run by one Anyannso Mma of Themap.ng.
Another victim, Enokela Monday, a 100-level student of Air Force Institution of Technology , Kaduna, disclosed that he also attempted suicide.
He reportedly invested N1.5 million, an amount meant to pay his school fees, rent given to him by his brother, as well as a loan he collected from his friend, into the company.
According to him, the business was introduced to his 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.
“The total amount I paid into the company’s UBA 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.
“In my frustration, I drank some quantity of poisonous liquid 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 loan he collected from his friends over there. My family is restless, we can barely feed. Depression is setting in”, he stated.
Other victims like Agbonifo Ohis Iyawere,
Victor Okinedo, Chibueze Amuchie, Bazuaye John and family, as well as Obiakor Elochukwu Pious and wife, were said to have invested in thousands and millions to the sum of N3,340,000, N15,340,000, N800,000, N25, 081,000 and N44,900,00 respectively.
The map.ng had promised them a mouth watering Return on Investment (ROI) in their advertisement placed by the company on radios, podcasts and through other social media influencers.
The call for investment of funds was for 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 an ROI hovering between 60 per cent to 110 per cent 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-publicised remittances made to the earlier investors.
But 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 ROI.
When it finally dawned on them that it was a ponzi scheme, one of the investors reportedly committed suicide.
About three other investors among who is David (surname withheld), also attempted to take their lives when they could not withstand the bombardments from their banks, where they took loans.
In a move to get their money back, some of the aggrieved investors have alerted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), 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, “ At first, the company stated that the 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, Mr. Anyannso Mma actually went underground, claiming to have been involved in an accident, and continued hiding until it was learnt that EFCC officers had arrested him randomly.
“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 unfrozen the company’s account as well as his personal account.
“It’s worthy to note that Anyannso Mma, on several occasions clearly stated that he is 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 protest against the EFCC at Okotie-Eboh Office, Ikoyi, to release his assets and unfreeze his company’s accounts and his personal account.
“With about 7.5 billion naira investors’ funds (from Anyanso’s own admission), 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, Anyannso Mma 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 Anyannso Mma release his properties which he claimed to have been seized by EFCC, but Anyanso Mma only accepts verbally, but never comes forth with the conditions given by investors.
“These conditions are as follows: That Anyannso Mma 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
“Anyannso Mma 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 Themap.ng and Anyannso Mma holding investors incommunicado.
“While there is no doubt that EFCC has no collaboration with Mr. Anyannso Mma and Themap.ng to do away with investors funds, the agency’s long delay to either prosecute Anyannso Mma 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 aides as our only hope to get justice for the investors to ensure that every investors’ monies are refunded.”
Effort to reach Mr Anyannso Mma on his mobile line failed as well as that of his wife, Chiamaka Mma, was also switched off.
However, the EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren said, “ The much I can say is that the case is still under investigation”.