Francis Uju Adoms
By Our Reporter
The Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) of the Nigeria Police Force has declared a businessman, Francis Uju Adoms wanted over an alleged multi-million naira fraud.
Adoms was declared wanted for allegedly defrauded investors of N52 million and $28,000 (N11.5 million).
According to a warrant of arrest issued by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, Uju defrauded victims under his company, Addy Finance & Investment Limited, registered under the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Peoples Gazette reports.
FMAN represents the interest of all Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered Funds and Portfolio Managers in Nigeria.
A notice by the interior stated, “He is wanted by the police for the offence of obtaining money under false pretences and investment fraud in Addy Finance & Investment Limited with the sum of fifty-two million naira only and twenty-eight thousand dollars respectively.”
The petition was initiated on behalf of the victims by CHIVE GPS, an intelligence research analysis firm based in Lagos.
Uju was declared wanted following a June 28 petition by Charles Mba and other investors. They transferred the funds into Uju’s company account after seeing an investment advert on the Internet, including social media platforms.
The total amount involved in the alleged fraud was unclear, but sources said Uju fleeced his victims to the tune of billions of naira.
Uju, however, through his company, did not pay back the investors’ fund and the expected returns on investment.
“Oblivious of the fraud ahead, our clients transferred the sum of fifty-two million naira and twenty-eight thousand dollars respectively at various times into the account of Addy Finance. The so-called investment was supposed to last for six months. However, Adoms of Addy Finance failed to pay them back the invested capital or return on investment and elected to be evasive,” the petition stated.
The victims argued that even though the company had been certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is an organised Ponzi scheme packaged as a legitimate business.
“We believe this was simply an organised Ponzi scheme, packaged and promoted as a legitimate business, targeted at Nigerians all over the country who believed the falsehood of Adoms,” the victims added.
A representative of FMAN, Temitope Moshood told the newspaper that they were aware of the matter but said SEC should be contacted for comments.
Earlier in June, some investors yet to receive their return on investment took to the company’s Twitter page to lament their inability to log in to the platform, claiming that Addy Finance has also cut off other forms of communication.
However, on June 18, a user identified as @Rhymmz shared a screenshot of a message he received from the company.
“Kindly note that the delay in payment right now is due to the fact that our accounts have been put on PND (post no debit) because of the petition written by some investors, hence payment cannot be made for now,” it said.
SEC had in April and August, 2021 cautioned Nigerians against investing in unregistered online platforms claiming to be operating in partnership with Capital Market Operators registered with the commission.
The Director-General of SEC, Lamido Yuguda, while speaking at the second post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) in August, urged Nigerians to stay away from fake financial experts who promise to double their money within a short time.
He said the commission would intensify efforts to clamp down on promoters of these illegal investment outfits in the capital market, in addition to its commitment to zero tolerance for infractions.
According to him, the commission has adopted multi-level engagements with media platforms and regulators of publicity agencies to curb the activities of these illegal operators.
“While we continue our activities to resolve the complaints that have been forwarded to the commission through the official channels, it is important to reiterate to the investing public to be wary of unscrupulous schemes that promise unrealistic returns on investment.”
He assured investors that the commission will not hesitate to deal decisively with any operator who carries out any activity outside the function(s) approved for it by the regulator.
Yuguda described Ponzi schemes as a threat to market development, stating that the pervasiveness of Ponzi schemes impacts negatively on investors’ confidence.
“Every month, every day, many of our citizens lost huge monies to Ponzi scheme operators and the commission has adopted a variety of measures including putting up the list of the authorised operators on our website so that interested investors will check our website to confirm that the scheme they are intending to invest in is through a registered operator by the SEC.
“But unfortunately, many of these Ponzi scheme operators give mouth-watering promises and entice many gullible investors. In the end, monies are lost and these investors start flocking to our offices to complain.”