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Ponzi: Court orders couple to pay N18.8b to scammed Nigerian investors



A LAGOS State high court, sitting in Ikoyi has ordered Mr. Bamise Samson Ajetunmobi, and Mrs. Elizabeth Anuoluwapo Ajetunmobi  to pay the sum of N18.8billion with interest to 27 aggrieved Nigerian investors who were scammed by them.

Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi granted the reliefs sought by the claimants. The 1st to 17th claimants’ counsel- the sum of N15.5 Billion and 18th to 27th claimant the sum of N3.3 billion.

  The judge also exited CBN from the proceedings and dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by the defendants.

  The couple started the business in 2016 with Mr Bamise who was a banker pooling money from colleagues and friends and then lending the money to traders and market women looking for soft and unsecured loans.

  His first sets of clients were his coworkers which he was able to convince them to trust him with their cash in exchange for a 10% monthly ROI payout.

  The company offered loan disbursements ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 on a 30-to-40-day cycle and needed a minimum investment of N100 million from investors, with an interest rate ranging from 6% to 36% depending on the capital amount paid monthly or as negotiated.

  The company claimed its business model was based on 4 key metrics. Using his microlending subsidiary, TFS Finance Ltd, they target “traders who sell fast-moving goods daily”, conduct “due diligence”, disburse the loans often between N10k and N100k over a 30-40-day cycle. Repayment is collected a day after the loan is disbursed through daily repayments.

  The business investor base grew from about 30 investors to over 90,000 investors with 5 years. Loan portfolio also grew from about N5 million to about N11 billion within this period.

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  The business came crashing in August 2021, when they failed to pay investors any return. when investors did not see the accustomed alerts, they grew worried prompting a showdown meeting with some of its major investors. 

  An emergency meeting was held between the Ajetunmobi and their largest investors who needed answers for smaller investors to whom they were answerable.

  At the meeting, investors probed the management of the company over the missed payments demanding that the company provide a statement showing where all the funds have been invested.

  Mr Ajetunmobi insisted that the missed payment was a blip and that things will quickly return to normal by September.   

  By September, the alerts once again did not drop forcing yet another string of meetings with Mr Ajetunmobi. By then, it was obvious that the company was facing serious challenges in meeting its monthly payments.

  Investors then suggested that he cut rates from 10% to about 3%, a logical sacrifice if it meant that they at least get their capital back.

  By October 1, Mr Ajetunmobi then cut the interest rate to 7%, promising to make things right.

  News broke out on social media about a couple who had allegedly conned   investors, defrauding them of an estimated N22 billion.

  On October 28, the Lagos state high court restrained the couple and their company from accessing funds in 21 commercial banks in Nigeria over the alleged N22 billion scam.

  The court restrained them from dealing with monies standing to their credit in any accounts in the bank to the tune of N11.795 billion pending determination of the Mareva application filled by applicants.

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