MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
A group of Nigerian investors who parted with huge sums of money with the belief that they were investing genuinely have called on the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa to urgently intervene in their matter with one Mr. Anyanso Mma, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Themap.ng.
They claimed that Mma in conspiracy with some other persons had lured over 3,000 innocent Nigerians and obtained from them by the pretense of business and promise of mouthwatering returns on investment a total of about N7.5billion.
In an open letter to the EFCC boss, (a copy of which was made available to AtlanticNewsOnline), the petitioners alleged that Mma acting in collaboration with Mr. Michael Mma (Director/Shareholder and Procurement Manager), Mr. Uchechwu Agu –(Chief Operating Officer), Mrs. Nene lroha – (HR Manager and CRMI Manager) and Mrs. Tolani Alabi – (Public Relations Officer) had carefully duped their victims in a manner that seriously calls for EFCC’s more serious investigation and recovery of scammed funds.
According to them, “apart from the fact that Mr. Anyanso Mma was the alter ego of the company, he actively campaigned (via appearances on radios, podcasts, Instagram live, etc) and engaging some social media influencers like Debo Adebayo, also known as Mr. Macaroni and Jubril Oladapo Gbadamosi, also known as Officerwoos who used their social media handles to advertise and promote his business on behalf of the company for ‘investors’ to invest funds into the company’s various investment plans.”
The advertised investment plans included Logistics/Bike Investment — Mayweather Promo, Customer Relationship Management Investment (CRMI), Education Virtual Reality for Students Investment (VR), Location Sponsorship Investment, Real Estate Investment and Independent Investment — Allweather Promo.
The petitioners who are victims of the alleged scam include Agboniffo Ohis Iyawere who invested the sum of N3,340,000, Victor Okinedo (N15,340,000), Chibueze Amuchie- (N800,000) Bazuaye John and family (N25, 081,000) and Obiakor Elochukwu Pious and wife (N44,900,000).
In their petition, they alleged that “with the expected Returns on Investment (ROI) hovering between 60% to 110% depending on the investment plan and duration, little did we the investors know that the said Anyanso Mma and his cohorts were diverting investors’ funds. However, to successfully lure the innocent investors, the company had an actual office manned by staff. A few bikes were seen within the company’s various office premises and along the road in parts of Ikeja, Lekki in Lagos and Abuja. So, when investors get to any of the offices, they actually get the impression that they are investing in a proper company.”
“Investors’ confidence was further bought with the well-publicized remittances made to the earlier investors. The unraveling of the suspected Ponzi scheme all started around first week of October 2020, when suddenly, the company started giving excuses why it could not pay. At first, it stated that the CRMI was oversubscribed and that the company wanted to refund the excesses before payment could resume (however, they still accepted funds from some investors). Later, it said that the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered him to refund all CRMI investors. After that, it was one story or the other and Mr. Anyanso Mma actually went underground, claiming to have had an accident, and continued in hiding until it was learnt that EFCC officers had arrested him randomly.”
“EFCC officers held him in a detention facility at Okotie-Eboh Office at Ikoyi for about a month and then released him on the 22nd of December 2020. Prior to his release, Anyanso Mma gave investors his word that as soon as he is released, he would sell some of the assets he diverted investors’ monies into and pay up investors. To the chagrin of investors, after he was released, he stated clearly that EFCC has asked/instructed him not to meet or communicate with investors. This,the EFCC denied. Again, he stated that the EFCC has not unfrozen the company’s account as well as his personal account.”
The petitioners posited that “it is worthy to note that Anyanso Mma on several occasions clearly stated that he is not the enemy, rather, we have a common enemy being the EFCC, that the EFCC is the reason why he has not paid the investors and was encouraging the investors to stage protest against the EFCC at Okotie-Eboh Office at Ikoyi, to release his assets and unfreeze his company’s accounts and his personal account.”
To buttress their point, the petitioners gave out the contents of one of his numerous emails sent to investors about the delay in payment. It reads:
“Dear Esteemed Partners, Your grievances are well understood and we apologize for all the pain and inconvenience the situation has caused you. We are not against our investors nor against paying back, but at the moment, the company and the investors have a common enemy which is the EFCC. We do not have any control over how long their investigation will last or when they will release our assets and accounts, we are working tirelessly with a joint combination of our legal team and a legal team provided by some of our investors who are going the extra mile to see us through the situation. Please know that this situation is by no means a deliberate action by the company and there is no scam involved as we have just been put in a bad position by the commission and we are doing all we can to make sure the situation is resolved and everyone is paid, that is our major aim and motive”.
Disturbed by the uncertainties surrounding the transaction and investigation by the anti graft agency, the petitioners have pleaded with the EFCC Chairman to speedily look into the matter in the interest of innocent investors “as about 7.5 billion naira investors’ funds (from Anyanso’s Own admission), is still under his firm grip.” They added that “Anyanso Mma admitted using some people’s bank accounts to receive funds since EFCC had restricted his bank accounts.
He also admitted that he used investor’s funds to invest heavily in properties.”
They also pointed out that on three (3) occasions, the investors have offered to help Anyanso Mma release his properties which he claims to be seized by EFCC. According to them, “he only accepts verbally, but never comes forth with the conditions given by investors. These conditions include “that Anyanso Mma will provide an MoU making commitments for payments, using the assets as collateral if he fails to make payments afterward, that he includes payment plan in this MoU and sends this MoU to our various lawyers to review before adoption”
They pointed out that Anyanso Mma instead of complying accordingly used his lawyer’s lack of performance as an excuse for why the MoU has not been out. The investors through one of the lawyers told Anyanso not to use EFCC as an excuse anymore because he had been offered assistance which he has not complied with.
The petitioners are worried that “Anyanso Mma may just disappear with the entirety of the money should EFCC release the assets and unfreeze his account without the investors being carried along especially in the light of both Themap.ng and Anyanso Mma holding investors incommunicado.”
They however contended that “while there is no doubt that EFCC has no collaboration with Mr. Anyanso Mma and Themap.ng to do away with investors funds, the agency’s long delay to either prosecute Anyanso Mma or release/unblock the investors’ funds and the assets purchased with investors’ funds so as to alleviate investor’s plight is making a lot of investors believe otherwise.”
So they have asked that EFCC should either prosecute Anyanso Mma and all his collaborators in this monumental suspected Ponzi scheme or release/unfreeze forthwith (with the investors’ consent), all funds and assets belonging to or purchased by Anyanso Mma, with investors’ monies and make refund of the funds to investors.
Several efforts made by AtlanticNewsOnline to speak with Mr. Anyanso Mma via his phone line (09062011117) failed as the line was continuously switched off. Similar efforts to reach his wife; Mrs. Chiamaka Stephanie Mma via her own line (07068803665) with a view to getting their side of the story proved abortive as calls put across were all diverted.