33 Nigerians Petition IGP To Probe Alleged ‘Ponzi Scheme’, Diversion Of N20Billion By Anambra Police Commissioner
A group of Nigerians has petitioned the acting Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun over the alleged diversion of over N20 billion funds under ATIC Co-operative operated by Mr. Aderemi Adeoye, Commissioner of Police in Anambra State.
The group called for the IGP’s intervention in the case of the operation of a “Ponzi scheme, fraudulent diversion, and misappropriation of funds by Mr Aderemi Olufemi Adeoye”.
This is contained in a letter signed by at least 33 people, addressed to the IGP and dated January 30, 2024, asking the nation’s police chief to investigate and take immediate actions on the matter as a primus case involving virtual investment of Nigerians in the Diaspora to encourage more investment at home.
It said that failure to take prompt and decisive action in the case would not only lead to further discouragement of diaspora investment in the nation but may embarrass President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
The petitioners include Barr. Olutoyin Eweje (United Kingdom); Ms. Doyinsola Ilori (United States); Mr. Rauf Obembe (Canada); Ms. Oluwatosin Obembe (Canada); Ms. Ade Atolagbe (United Kingdom); Mr. Ademola Adewusi (Nigeria); Mr. Babajide Adenaike (United Kingdom); Mr. Olubunmi Anifowoshe (United States) and Miss Damilola Zainab Obembe (United States).
Others include Dr. Wale Ismail (United Kingdom); Dr. Edwin Archibong (United States); Mr. Daniel Emmanuel (United States); Ms. Felicia Ehuha (United States); Ms. Gloria Akinsiku (United Kingdom); Mr. Henry Adebayo (United Kingdom); Mr. Hezekiah Adewole (United Kingdom); Ms. Iyabo Alabi (United Kingdom); Dr. Kingsley Nwabugwu (United Kingdom); Mrs. Nike Atolagbe (United Kingdom); Ms Oluseye Odukoya (Nigeria); Mr. Oluwaseun Henry-Adebayo (United Kingdom); Mr. Suraj-Deen Gbadamosi (United Kingdom); Ms. Temitayo Sarafadeen (United Kingdom); Dr. Tunde Alabi (Nigeria); Ms. Cynthis Nwachukwu (United States) and Mr. Val Verissimo (United States). Some others chose to hide their identities.
The letter reads in part, “We the undersigned write to seek your intervention in the case of the operation of a Ponzi Scheme, fraudulent diversion, and misappropriation of funds by Mr Aderemi Olufemi Adeoye.
“Acts in violation of code of conduct of a public officer under the Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Co-operative Society Law of Lagos State, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The said Mr Adeoye is in the employ of the Nigeria Police Force and currently serves as the Commissioner of the Anambra Police Command.
“Sometime around 2017, we became “friends” with Mr Adeoye on the Facebook social media site. At the time, he was serving in the African Union on secondment from Nigeria. He endeared himself to us and many others by projecting himself as a champion for victims of fraud and an upright man. Often, he claimed to have come to the aid of persons who had been defrauded on Facebook.
“He got many accolades from many of us for these claims. As time will show, these claims were a deliberate and well-planned effort by him to win the trust of many of us on Facebook as a precursor to launching his grand scheme.
“Riding on his popularity, sometime in 2018, Mr Adeoye approached a group of his friends on Facebook, including some of the undersigned, and informed us about the setting up of a cooperative investment club. His idea was that members of the cooperative club will pull funds together to a very nasty one and has shaken our confidence in the system.
“We are just a group of professionals and businesspeople spread across the world who are trying to save something for our retirement by investing in our home country and for our kids in their fatherland, based on the trust we had in Mr Adeoye. But he painfully broke the trust.
“We recently learned that Mr Adeoye would be retiring from the Police sometime in March this year. We also learned that he has moved his family out of Nigeria. The N20billion Cooperative has no physical address, no website, no staff, and no documentation relating to individual purchases through the Club, no record of our collective assets available to members.
“They are all in the custody of Mr Aderemi Adeoye if they exist at all. The only things that members have as proof of their multi-billion investments are whatever he says and a Facebook page! That Facebook page is at risk of being shut down at any time, and he may become inaccessible after retirement.
“We the undersigned members of the Club with over N500m investment in the scheme repose a lot of confidence in your office and the corruption-fighting stance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We are trusting your good office to investigate and take immediate actions on this matter as a primus case involving virtual investment of Nigerians in diaspora to encourage more investment at home, as failure to take a prompt and decisive action in this case would not only lead to further discouragement of diaspora investment in our beloved nation but may cause an untold embarrassment to this administration that is trying so hard to curb corruption in high places, since this matter involves a sitting Commissioner of Police in one of the most volatile states in the country.”
The petitioners said Adeoye should be compelled to disengage from running the investments with immediate effect, ‘with an undertaking not to touch or deal in any assets belonging to the Club, since his involvement in the scheme, and dealing in the business as a public servant, in the first place, is prima facially illegal ab initio and as a matter of law”.
They said, “That a full audit of his activities has been carried out by an independent and reputable audit company and that he be prosecuted if found culpable.
“We are requesting that you place an immediate ban on the following accounts with the underlisted banks into which members have deposited funds at one point or the other, and all accounts in all other banks traceable to the BVNs linked to them because of the possibility of capital flight immediately this becomes public.”
They listed the bank accounts in which they made payments as follows: Adeoye Aderemi Olufemi – 0022886922 – GT Bank; ATIC Venture and Business 0529141764 GT Bank; ATIC Ventures Cooperative/Loan – 0557038409 – GT Bank; ATIC Stock Exchange Stock Investment – 0625843960 GT Bank; ATIC Investment Membership 0529141764 GT Bank; ATIC Car Importation-0557038416 GT Bank; ATIC Special Project (Banana Island) 0610934394 GT Bank; ATIC City Port Harcourt-0662684227- GT Bank; ATIC Real Estate (Land)-0557038423 – GT Bank.
The petition continued, “That you instruct whoever you appoint as the custodian of the accounts to pay the undersigned our invested funds with the promised interests, allocate our land to us immediately or pay us the current fair market value of the landed properties.
“We are mindful of his influence as a sitting Police Commissioner, a position and rank that he has used consistently to intimidate, bully, and threaten those of us who have been bold enough to ask him questions. He has boasted to people that he is a senior Police Officer and that as a friend of the Inspector General of Police he is aware of what he is doing, therefore nothing would happen to him. We refuse to believe this.”
“We would greatly appreciate your taking prompt action regarding these accounts pending a resolution of this matter,” the statement added.
However, Mr. Adeoye denied the allegations when contacted by SaharaReporters on Thursday.
He said the N20 billion was the worth of all their assets, which he described as mainly landed properties with known and reputable companies.
The Anambra police commissioner explained that there are 1,400 members in the group and alleged that the 33 members who wrote the petition were expelled from the group for criminal activities.
According to him, they aim to discredit the scheme and pull the cooperative down.
He said, “The question you should ask is, in what form is the N20 billion? Who contributed N20 billion? Where did N20 billion come from? Because what does not exist cannot be misappropriated.
“N20 billion is the current worth of all our assets and they are mainly landed properties with known and reputable companies. If they said N20 billion was misappropriated, is it possible to misappropriate land? Or can I carry land and run away with it?
“We invested in different real estate companies in Lagos, Abuja and many more. We bought properties in some estates at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Shimawa, Abuja and in so many areas from 2019 till date.
“These assets are what give the N20 billion value that is been bandied around. We don’t have cash anywhere; we don’t hold cash. We contribute and we pay to the developer and as we pay to the developer, we post the receipts of payment on our business lounge on Facebook, so every member who reads updates which we post on a daily basis follows everything we do and they are up to date.
“We are 1,400 in number; the 33 who are making this claim were expelled for criminal activities and their aim is to tarnish our reputation. They are doing everything they can to pull the cooperative down and get it destroyed the same way they were criminals in the club which made us expel them.
“After expelling them for the criminal activities, they issued threats, criminal defamation and sundering other crimes. And when they were expelled, they decided that they would bring the club down and the 1,400 members said they could not do it. That is the position; we are not a Ponzi scheme. I’m sure you know what a Ponzi scheme is. You collect money from newcomer to pay old members. That’s a Ponzi scheme.
“Does a Ponzi scheme acquire assets? Do they tie money down with long-term investment? For Ponzi scheme, you don’t have any products; you just collect money and give it to others and continue recycling like that but we don’t do that.
“If a new set of members joins us, we don’t use their money to pay dividends, we use their money to pay for assets we have acquired. We generate money from dividends, we pay them from the number of activities and we can give you the lowdown because we have nothing to hide.
“We have no expense related to asset building. We have no office cost. The case of moving my family abroad is not true. Did they give you proof?
“I am the commissioner of police in Anambra State and my wife is the chairperson of the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA). Can we be running from outside the country? She’s in Abuja as we speak; she will be here tomorrow.
“My two children: one is undergoing the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC). Do you do NYSC while abroad? The other one is working in Nigeria; she studied at All Nations University in Ghana and came back home. She’s at home and working in Nigeria.
“So I’m here, my wife is here, our two children are here. How have I moved my family abroad? Which of the family are they talking about? Or how did my family move abroad without my knowledge?
“So that alone will show you the criminal falsehood that these people peddle as standard; they dish out falsehood as facts and they state it so authoritatively as if they were there when it happened. These are ignoramuses who don’t read our updates; they don’t even know what’s going on.”
“They are peripheral members who only come around for dividend sharing once a year and they are gone,” he added.