Olarewaju David Folarin, CEO, Neris Global Enterprise, Ibadan, is on the run with over N500 million investors’ money. He left the company’s staff to face the heat of explanations and even arrest.
Folarin left his company’s WhatsApp group and has failed to show up at the office since April. He stopped answering calls for a while and then his number became unreachable. His last known location is an Estate in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Tope Babalola (not real name), a worker and investor with the enterprise, never expected to be caught up in the middle of a scam when she started a relationship with Neris in 2020.
She was introduced to the company by her sister. Neris promised to pay back capital with 20% return on investment every month and also gave people the chance to reinvest and withdraw later. Tope told FIJ that although she was sceptical at first, she eventually invested the money she had saved from her NYSC monthly stipends. After a few months, she received her money and profit as promised.
In February, after her service year, she joined the marketing team of the business. Soon, she worried the number of traders was inadequate.
“I asked my colleagues who had been working with the company about it and they said the CEO and a guy upstairs (we were downstairs) were trading. Also, they had traders in Lagos, who visited the office once in a while. I believed them, because it seemed genuine,” she said.
According to the business’ website, “Neris Global Enterprise is a 21st century investment services company specializing in setting up clients with the investment plans that will work best for them based on their financial needs and situation.”
Displayed on the website are a couple of plans, car investment scheme, school fees insurance, simple plan and compound plan, all with a minimum investment principal of N50,000. The company claimed to be registered with the CAC, and also to be made up of seasoned group of financial analysts, economists, forex traders and business strategists who worked round the clock.
However, findings revealed that only the business name is registered, not the company. A legal expert said this might make it difficult to sue the company as it is only a name and not a legal entity.
With a target to meet, Tope brought in her brother and over 50 other investors. According to her, about N9.1 million was obtained from the investors she brought in.
Titi (not real name), another ex-worker at Neris, said her N800,000 was stuck in the investment and that her clients lost over N15 million.
Things were going on well for the company until April when Folarin gave marketers a target of N50 million, pressuring them to get more investors. On April 26, Folarin announced that marketers should inform their investors of a three-month capital lock. He said investors would only have access to their ROI during the period, but not their capital.
Tope told FIJ that a day after the announcement, some investors visited the business and vandalised some of the company’s properties.
“One of the investors also took Folarin to Iyagankun Police Station, Ibadan, and that prompted the immediate release of his money, including the capital,” Tope said.
On his return, Folarin released a memo to the capital-lock effect, but many of the investors rejected it. A few days after, he stopped going to the office.
Folarin reached out to his staff in August via Zoom, promising that investors would be paid 50 percent of their capital. But he has not been seen since then. Following his disappearance, members of staff have been arrested and picked up by people who invested through them.
“One marketer was arrested by soldiers on August 28, and was released the following day. Two other workers were beaten by soldiers on different occasions. One was picked up at a church. The other was picked up in his house.”
All efforts to reach Folarin proved abortive, as even his “girlfriend” and company’s administrator —Titilope Yusuf— has fled.
“Investors have been on the neck of the staff for their money, though none paid into the staff’s personal accounts. I have someone who invested the money meant for her mother’s chemotherapy because the money was not complete at the time,” said Tope.
FIJ attempted to reach Folarin via phone call, but his numbers were switched off. Messages sent also got no reply.
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