The year 2020 was one when the world stood still to deal with a virus no one knew was coming to stay for that long. But Ojuede Ojuejo remembers 2020 as the year it hit him that he had been scammed to the tune of N4.8million by MBA Capital and Trading Limited, a company he initially called a goldmine.
In February 2019, a colleague of his would constantly tell him about MBA Forex investment, but he ignored it and call it a similitude of Ponzi schemes. When this colleague became persistent in his approach, sometimes showing him startling credit alerts, Ojuede began to give in to the thoughts of investing in the platform.
Until it disappeared into thin air, MBA paraded itself as a financial company that specialized in helping investors trade forex and give them 15% profits every 30 days. With a minimum of N350,000 to N5 million, MBA assured those who invested with them of a fortune.
A TRIAL WILL CONVINCE YOU? NOT ALWAYS
In September 2019, Ojuede visited the MBA’s office at Freedom Way, Lekki, Lagos, to clear his doubts about the company. When he learnt that MBA was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), even though he was not shown the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) documents, he decided to invest in the company with one eye closed.
“After I was persuaded, upon hearing many success stories of people who had invested in the platform, I invested N500,000 with them on October 10, 2019. As is their law, they said I would be paid N75,000 on the 10th day of every month, beginning from the following month. I agreed without asking further questions because it was a fair deal, “he said.
INITIAL PAYMENTS, MORE INVESTMENT
After Ojuede received his first profit in November, he decided to further invest more with MBA in December. This time, he told his brother, who decided to invest N2.685 million.
“Since MBA gave investors the chance to top up their initial deposit so as to get more profits, I decided to invest more in the platform with my brother,” he said.
At the time, Ojuede did not suspect that, like Ponzi schemes, things would hardly go bad in the early stages. After he was paid in January, he showed his complete trust in MBA by investing another N2 million. Two months after that, his certainty about the platform began to fade away.
“I did not know that MBA would default on payment until March 2020, when they paid late,” he said. “But from April, we started having staggered payments, like late payments and different excuses, although they kept paying investors.”
By August, the problem of staggering payments was fully blown and MBA refused to pay their investors. Suddenly, the MBA started making excuses, explaining that they were having issues with powerful Nigerians who were trying to bring them down. This was what signaled to Ojuede that MBA was no different from Ponzi, but by then his N4.8 million was still hanging with MBA; they had only paid him N75,000 six times.
When reality hit Ojuede that his MBA was an investment gone bad, contacted the company to refund his money, but was told they had to be patient. So he decided to use other means to get his money. Despite all his well-thought-out strategies, he did not succeed.
“MBA brought all sorts of online tactics, emails and conditions to revalidate our investment. I sobbed, wondering where the MBA would take us to. I was assured I would get my money, but the revalidation exercise was a charade, as he ensured he set the investors on a roller coaster of hope for a month,” Ojuede told FIJ.
“When they saw we could not be persuaded by falsehood, they resorted to explaining that MBA was going through a transition period, and that another company was buying it off to make MBA the biggest FX trader in Africa.”
Ojuede, however, said Maxwell Odum, the CEO of MBA, was not truthful from the momenthis company started defaulting on payments. Odum, he explained to FIJ, would only make announcements to assure people of getting their money through mail and short pre-recorded videos, but he never intended to return people’s money.
A HELPING HAND FROM THE POLICE
He further said that when some of the investors in Port Harcourt ran out of patience, they protested and threatened to vandalise MBA offices. However, the MBA invited the Police, who urged investors not to be worried, as the transition period would make the company better to pay them off.
Meanwhile, Odum kept mailing, using pre-recorded videos on the Vimeo app to communicate with investors that MBA would settle their investors.
“Odum said he was coming to settle all investors, explaining that investors’ capital should be returned to them, beginning with the smallest investors. He promised to pay in January 2021, but just like he failed to keep his promise in 2020, he failed again.
“The last information we heard from MBA or Odum was in April 2021, when he wished the investors a happy new month, which I suspect to be an April fool’s message.”
MAXWELL ODUM DISAPPEARS
Odum may have vapourized into thin air, but the consequences of his actions have left many devastated.
For instance, Raymond Adegbite (not real name), a colleague of Ojuede’s who persuaded him to come onboard, not only lost his N2 million but risks losing his brother-in-law, who used to work for MBA. According to Ojuede, his colleague has lost sleep over the rumour that some investors are plotting how to murder Adegbite’s in-law.
When FIJ investigated the veracity of MBA Forex Company, it was found that MBA scammed many Nigerians. In fact, the Central Bank of Nigeria said 125,397 investors deposited a total of N171 billion into accounts belonging to the company.
At the moment, no one knows the whereabouts of Maxwell Odum. And nobody knows what happened to thebillions he dishonestly raked in from his victims.
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