Farm4Me, an Abuja-based Agric investment company, has joined the league of companies swindling millions from unsuspecting investors who have committed huge capitals.
In March 2019, the company rolled out several investment plans in the form of contract farming to its investors, promising an attractive Return on Investment (ROI).
Adama J Adama, the company’s owner, lured a number of individuals into investing in the farming of crops like maize, sorghum, soya beans, paddy rice, sesame seed and melon.
At the start, the investment scheme went well; the majority of the investors would regularly visit an online wallet created by the company for customers to access their returns upon maturity without hassles.
However, in October, things took a different turn when investors could no longer access their capitals and ROIs on the platform.
When investors reached out to complain about this problem, the officials of the company admitted that it was having challenges on its payment platform, promising to resolve it soon.
The investors grew impatient when the company was not forthcoming in solving the so-called problem. Officials of the company, including Adama, would soon stop picking their calls.
AN INVESTOR’S DASHED HOPE
One of the investors, who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimisation, narrated how Adama’s company failed to fulfil its commitment to their agreement.
“I’ve invested with them three times. The first two investments were for my dad. I invested his pension on his behalf. I encountered no issues with the first payout,” the investor said, “I, however, had to seriously disturb the officials of the company concerning the second payout.”
He added that he had to wrestle the proceeds from his father’s investment from the company when he could not redeem it from the online wallet, and after threatening its officials with legal action.
The investor also said: “After they made the payment, I told the Adama that I still have another investment due in November and I invested hoping to use both capitals and proceed for my wedding in December. He told me that there won’t be any issue and that the company’s problem was not about payment, but that about the platform being used for the payment.”
However, according to the investor, Adama and his company officials have stopped picking his calls after promising to fulfil the commitment of the second investment.
ANOTHER INVESTOR SPEAKS
Another investor also said his investment ended on October 22, but the company has not redeemed his RoI from the personal wallet the company created for investors.
“I have called and written Farm4me several times but got no response in return,” the investor said. “I invested N1 million and it is unfair that the company is not even talking to investors anymore.”
The investor noted that apart from Farm4me having close to 60,000 investors, the estimated worth of the overall investment portfolio is close to N10 billion. This claim was corroborated by other investors interviewed by this reporter.
‘There ARE BACKEND STORIES YOU DON’T TELL INVESTORS’
Reacting to FIJ’s inquiry, Adama said the company’s wallet system was hacked and millions were stolen in December 2020.
He said the company immediately reported the matter to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
“There are actually backend stories you don’t tell investors,” he said. “It is the innovation in Fintech that the world celebrates; the world does not always know the risks involved.”
When asked if the investors were aware of the incident, Adama said the company decided not to inform its investors in order not to create panic.
He also claimed that the company’s website was also attacked in June, making them lose millions of investors monies.
“As of the second week of September, over 5,800 attempts had again been made on our site by suspected attackers,” he said. “After the latest attempt, I was left with two options; allow the money go seamlessly, where people get their money when due; or resort to manual payment which may lead to further delay in payment.”
However, he claimed his company has finally resorted to another plan to repay investors and pledged that all the affected investors would be paid within two weeks.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.