In yet another case of investment scam in Nigeria, Bamise Ajetunmobi, the Managing Director of Imagine Global Solutions Ltd., and Elizabeth, his wife, have allegedly robbed unsuspecting investors of over N22 billion.
For three years, the institution founded in 2017 focused on raising capital through investors and lending money to small business owners with a 22 percent interest rate.
At the end of every month, investors are paid up to three and a half percent returns, depending on the agreement signed.
However, things took a dramatic turn in August, when for no clear reasons, the company stopped paying returns on investment (ROIs) to its investors.
A DISTRAUGHT INVESTOR
“I was introduced to Bamise by my lawyer in 2018, and in the course of our discussion, he explained his micro-lending. Then, his company already had about N5,000 investors and, to a reasonable extent, after carrying out a background check myself, I was convinced the business was legitimate,” said an investor who asked not to be named.
After feeling convinced that the business was legitimate, and with an agreed five percent ROI, the investor paid N60 million in three tranches between January and July 2019 to Imagine Global Solutions.
“All was well until the company stopped paying investors in August. This has to be the most organised fraud in the investment scams in Nigeria,” he said in tears.
OTHER DISTRAUGHT INVESTORS IN THE N22 BILLION FRAUD
FIJ contacted another investor who put N1.8 billion in the scheme, but he declined to comment while shedding tears.
“I invested N300 million with the company with the hope of terminating my investment by December,” another investor told FIJ. “But as it is now, he has defrauded us, the investors, of over N22bn. I hope Bamise and his wife who happens to be the chairman of the board of trustees of the company get caught.”
The first investor said one of his friends invested N90 million with the company.
BAMISE ON THE RUN
On October 15, after two months of non-payment of ROI by the company, the board decided to meet to determine the way forward. However, Bamise failed to show up.
FIJ gathered that after the meeting, a few board members decided to visit him at his residence in Ikoyi.
“I think the mistake the members of the board made was visiting him at his Ikoyi residence, where he lived in a penthouse. We waited at his residence till 2am on Saturday, but we did not sight anyone that looked like him. Unknown to us, he had actually left Nigeria that same day, around 5 am on Friday, through Seme Border, for the Republic of Benin,” an investor said.
DENIAL BY HIGH-PROFILE INVESTORS
Since the fraud story broke, the Elevation Church and PiggyVest, two bodies suspected of having lost money to the scheme, have come out to refute such claims.
In a statement signed by Goodman Akinlabi, lead pastor of the Elevation Church, the religious organisation described the news as false.
Similarly, PiggyVest, an investment company, stated that investors’ funds remained safe and uncompromised. However, a victim of Imagine Global Solutions, said the company was affected.
“I can only tell you what I am sure of. I am sure that I lost money. I can also tell you that PiggyVest lost N800 million to the scheme. Some other microfinance banks and financial institutions lost money too. But they will never come out to admit it,” he said.
BAMISE EMPTIED THE COMPANY’S ACCOUNT
“Unkown to us, Bamise had emptied all the funds in his company’s and personal accounts, converted them to dollars and bought properties in Dubai, the US and the UK,” one investor said.
According to him, Bamise also left Nigeria with numerous dollar debit and credit cards.
“He had it well planned out all along. In the last few hours, we discovered that he had in April and May acquired Antigua and Barbuda citizenship for himself and his family. All we can hope for now is for relevant authorities to get to work and see how he can be caught,” he said.
Presently, the company’s Lagos office at Plot 29A, Adebisi Ogunniyi Crescent, Lekki, is under lock and key.
FIJ placed several calls to the number on the company’s website but they were not available. A text message sent was also not responded to.
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