Remember i promised to talk about some "investment" i ventured into. OK i must confess i put a little of my hard earned money in one of these miracle banks that are all over the papers. I was warned but i had and still have hope. Because some friend of ours had told how he knew someone, that knew someone that had returns of over 20 million Naira and was planning to buy a house. I was tempted.
What are these wonder banks? - They promise outrageous int rests, basically You get returns of over 100% your original investment sum, after a few weeks. CBN hasn't said anything negative so far, they only warned us (the public to be careful).
I received this email from one of my co-investors today (the mentioned miracle bank isn't the particular one my money is in though). Here's for u guys to stay clear just in case you were thinking of it.
Miracle Bank Crashes, Depositors' Money Trapped, Operators Vanish
By Tokunbo Olajide
Sooner than expected, the bubble may have burst for investors in miracle finance schemes now in vogue, especially in Lagos and Ibadan . There are indications that the wonder banks have started crashing a few months after they hoodwinked thousands of depositors with jumbo interest as a bait so that they could lodge their money with the voodoo banks.At least 10 depositors who deposited various sums of money with Treasure line Interlink Limited, one of the wonder banks, met the office under lock and key yesterday when they went to claim their huge interests which were due for collection.
The confused depositors waited endlessly in front of the No. 29, Airport Road , Ajao Estate, Lagos , office of the investment company, with none of the officials on sight. The officials have apparently vanished into thin air.The distraught depositors went back to the office today in the hope that the officials would come but they were utterly disappointed as nobody was around while the place remained shut.One of the distressed investors had misgivings that it was either the agents of Treasure line had fled with their money, or something else was wrong.“I’ve been coming here regularly in the last two weeks and none of them (the agents) has showed up to offer any explanation,” he lamented.Another victim told P.M.News she had tried severally to reach one of the agents on phone but her call had either been rejected, or the respondent had dismissed it as a “wrong number.”The woman, however, insisted she couldn't’t be calling the wrong person, for she had earlier been contacting the said agent on that same number before everything went awry.P.M.News similarly tried to reach the fleeing fund managers on two GSM numbers given to depositors, but the calls couldn't’t go through. One of the numbers, 08033770185, belonging to one of the agents, named Banji, rang severally, but he ignored the call. He later switched off his phone.
Another investor complained that the last time he met the Treasure line agents in their office, they assured him his interest would be ready by “week 26” (two weeks ago), by which time he was to check back. He did check back but the operators had disappeared.He said he later learnt that they had another office in Egbeda area of Lagos , which he visited on yesterday morning. Those he met there, however, dissociated themselves from whatever transactions he had with Ikeja agents, as it was “purely their own business.”P.M.News learnt that some of the operators showed up at the Ikeja office last Thursday. A lady among them was said to have been beaten up by some angry depositors, who became apprehensive when they were told their interests were not ready. Since then, the place had been locked.It is not clear whether the Ikeja and Egbeda outlets are liaison offices of Treasure line which has its main office in Ibadan . If the operators of the Lagos outlets were merely acting as free agents to the wonder bank, then it may be easy for them to abscond with depositors’ funds.None of the distraught depositors accepted to disclose their identity, but one of them said he invested N1.2 million with the defaulters.Another said he lodged N40, with them.
P.M.News gathered that the minimum amount of deposit Treasure line has been accepting in the last two months is N10,500 which would attract an interest of N20,000 by the end of three weeks.Treasure line, among numerous other miracle fund managers have lately been enjoying high patronage from thousands of desperate investors who are attracted by jumbo interests being offered at very short periods.However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, since two weeks ago, repeatedly been warning the vulnerable public to be wary of the wonder banks, noting that those investing with them were “doing so at their own risk.”The outlets are registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as fund managers. But the CBN insists they were “not licensed” by it to collect deposits from the public, thus they were doing an “illegal business.”
The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mr. Ignatius Imala, had said that even though investigations into activities of some of them showed that their core activities did not contravene the law, they were not authorised to collect deposits from the public.Imala, who spoke at the Bankers Committee Meeting in Lagos weeks ago, said the CBN would issue a public notice soon to warn members of the public regarding the emergence of wonder banks.According to him, “nobody has been informed by the CBN that fund managers are to raise capital from anywhere. I am not aware that the CBN has given that type of authorisation that fund managers exist. Fund managers are not under the supervisory jurisdiction of CBN. But any moment from now there will be a public advertorial to warn members of the public regarding their emergence.“Apart from the deposit money banks that are supposed to take money from the public, anyone who gives his money to such fund managers, does so at his own risk.”Central Bank has started publishing the advertorial in national newspapers on the danger of patronising the voodoo banks.
In its edition of 9 April 2007, The NEWS magazine wrote extensively on these miracle banks and the shady manner they transact their business.According to the magazine, “investors are advised to be wary of finance and investment houses whose owners lack integrity and credibility. Late last year, operators of an illegal finance company, Spring of Wealth International Limited, which had Olayinka Oyele as Chairman), Ilufuye Opeyemi (Director of Finance) and Abraham Joseph (Director of Operations), were arrested by the EFCC, following a complaint from a customer who later became a victim. “The finance house, situated at Suite 31 , Kalejaiye Shopping Complex, 105 Lebanon Street , Old Gbagi Market in Ibadan , has been engaged in illegal receipt of deposits from members of the public despite having not been licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria , CBN, to operate as a financial institution.“Before the arrest of the trio, the company had over 115,000 subscribers. The company’s bait for prospective depositors was the promise of outlandish interests, sometimes as high as a 100 per cent return on deposits within weeks of such lodgment.
The EFCC disclosed that apart from the company not possessing the licence, it also lacked the cash back-up or an insurance cover to sustain the operations.“Located at Suite 47 , Akande Shopping Complex, Lagos motor park, Sango, Ibadan , is Treasureline Interlink. Treasureline, which also has two other offices in Lagos , offers slots and a pay-off of about three months. The period could come sooner or later, depending on how soon it sells the slots for each operational week. An investor who deposits for seven slots of N14,300 is promised a jumbo payoff of N30,000 in 12 weeks or less. Investment of N29,500, representing 15 slots, yields 70,000 in 12 weeks or less. For 63 slots of N120,700, pay-off in three weeks equates N310,000, while the big one of N2,457,400 for 2,047 slots offer a pay-off of N10.23 million in 12 weeks or less. “Every pay-off is subjected to a 5 per cent VAT deduction. Payment is made in cash for manageable amounts and cheques for larger amounts. But for week 12, the company resorted to the Flash-me Credit system of First Inland Bank.Treasureline has not disclosed to customers what they do with money placed with it. An inquisitive customer who requested for the information was denied it on the pretext that previous experience has taught them that people lean on that knowledge to form their own investment companies. The sponsor of the scheme is one Isaac Ademola Kolade. The managing director of the company, this magazine gathered, doubles as a lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, Ibadan Polytechnic.”Investigations revealed that top security agents and bank workers patronise the wonder banks that is why they operate as if they are above the law.