Connect with us

Crime

Investors drag Farmsponsors’ boss over repayment promises

Published

on

In 2020, Ayoola Ogundele made a decision to invest N1 million in Farmsponsor, an agri-crowdfunding platform which claims it has a mandate to promote food security in Africa during its meeting with investors’ representatives as of 12th of December 2021. The business, which is owned by two brothers: Chike E. Akpa and Innocent N. Akpa (a.k.a Bill Kenneth) promised investors 250% ROI on long term (five years) and 15% ROI on short term cycles (3 months).

It was a long-term investment (5 years) with an expected return of N250% in five years – RoI to be paid every 6 months. He had seen reviews about the Platform on social media and was further convinced when he saw posts which confirm the company has automated equipment for poultry online. But Ayo was only paid 37% ROI for the first year; and until today, his initial capital plus the remaining ROI is still hanging.

Similar to the case of Ogundele, several investors who staked millions in the brother’s business have expressed dissatisfaction with the continuous failure to pay out investors and reach out to investors. @Jaboyka on social media said, “Farmsponsor totally cut communication with her investors. I don’t understand why you trick people into making investments and shut the door on them when they need information on status of their funds?”

In July 2021, the platform explained that it had its operations destabilized due to the sudden ban of crowdfunding operations by the Security and Exchange Commission.

Advertisement

The statement read in part, “The past few days have been quite a challenge as the company has been facing some difficulties which have destabilized our crowdfunding operations. These challenges stem from the recent SEC cease announcement on all crowdfunding platforms by June 30, 2021. This has made it impractical for Farm-sponsor to continue its crowding operation as the notice came upon us abruptly, in the first week of June.

ALSO READ  EFCC arraigns Former ABU VC, Ibrahim Garba over N1bn fraud

“We are taking appropriate measures to see that all funds collected from every sponsor will be paid back accordingly. Please bear with us as payments will likely be staggered. We are working to make the payout as fast as possible but to be honest, it may take up to 18 – 24 months to finish. Paying everyone at once will eat too deep into our operational cash flow. Let us continue to work to pay you.”

Clearly, the Covid pandemic coupled with SEC policy ordering crowdfunding companies to register or stop operation by month end of June last year had generally affected businesses and farms especially, causing many businesses in that line to suffer dire consequences and subsequently affecting payout to investors.

However, while some platforms are seen to be actively strategizing on possible solutions to fix the mess as soon as practicable, it appears that others such as Farmsponsors have been playing on the intelligence of investors.

While it is easy to argue that the reason for not meeting payment promise could be tied to the inability to get loans as promised, it is important to note that the company has not been responsive to the appeal for an interim takeover by another management firm.

Advertisement

In addition, the company has also failed to respond to requests by investors for an independent forensic audit to trace all assets purchased with investors’ funds. As a result of this, many investors are of the opinion that the insincerity of the brothers could mean that the platform may have set out with the intention of a Ponzi scheme from the beginning.

ALSO READ  40-year-old Man, On Trial For Alleged N2.5m Visa Scam

As of press time today, investors say there is still no clear-cut direction on when exactly they will be paid. “I assume the loan story is either fake or he didn’t get it and decided to excommunicate investors in 2022 instead of liquidating his company,” an investor told Nairametrics.

“As it is, we are still expecting disbursement of the funds. Last week, I (CEO) was engaged in series of meetings regarding the disbursement of these funds and the assurance and reassurance was given that we will get this fund before the end of this year (2021)…” CEO said.

Every day, as the lines continue to resonate in the minds of over four thousand investors who have been failed many times by Farmsponsor, an important question that clouds the mind of many is, “Are the co-founders of Farmsponsor playing games with investors?”

Not only has the company failed to deliver on their promises, but its co-founders have also ceased communicating with members, putting a hold on zoom calls with investors and failing to respond to questions on how and when the scheme would help to end the pain suffered by investors.

Advertisement

As of the time of this report, Nairametrics gathered that after almost a year since it started defaulting in July 2021, the platform has continued to make empty promises and give investors false hope.

As of the 13th of February 2022, Akpa Innocent (Bill Kenneth) in a channel told Nairametrics that it is engaging sponsors to ensure that everyone gets paid.

ALSO READ  Scores missing as bandits kill seven in fresh Benue attack

“We have also continued to engage with sponsors both privately and in groups, on efforts we’re making to make sure we pay everyone. We can make bold to say that the wait is almost over, we’re still in operation and our productivity on the farm, the plant and the hatchery has continued to increase,” he said.

Speaking on why the company cut communications with investors, he said, “The last virtual meeting with investors failed to hold as a result of technical issues. We hope to resolve that as soon as possible to enable us to continue to interface with the investors through that medium. We also appeal to all sponsors to keep up the good support and to kindly exercise a little more patience as we swim through this murky water of our business growth.”

The Nigerian crowdfunding space appears to be changing direction, presenting a vague future for the business, due to failing operations. This has fueled a rising feeling of pessimism over the crowdfunding industry in the country.

Advertisement

From Farm Power to Payfarmer, Goldvest, Emerald farms, Vestpay, H O Corn, FarmKonnect, Farmsponsor and a list of endless ventures, these platforms known for funding projects or ventures by raising money from a large number of people who contribute relatively small amounts, typically via the internet, have either defaulted or are delaying payments of investment funds, alongside Return on Investment (ROI) to investors.

In view of this, stakeholders are worried and raising questions about why crowdfunding seems to be failing in Nigeria, what the future holds for crowdfunding in the country, and whether crowdfunding really works in Nigeria?

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Crime

NURTW member, two others jailed for drug trafficking

Published

on

A 45-year-old driver and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Tapha Mustapha, and two others, were on Thursday convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for trafficking hard drugs.

Other convicts sentenced alongside the NURTW member are Andrew Ukelere and Anthony Chiemerem.

The three convicts were earlier arraigned before the court by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, on April 27, 2024, on charges bordering on conspiracy, trafficking in 13.9 kilograms of tramadol and 590 litres of Pentazocine, a psychotropic drug similar to cocaine.

During their arraignment, the prosecutor, Mariam I. Erondu, who was represented by Julian Negedu, told the court that the convicts were arrested with the drugs on March 19, 2024, on the Long Bridge area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos State.

Advertisement

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and are punishable under the same Act.

The trio, however, pleaded guilty to the charges.

Following their guilty plea, Justice Kehinde Ogundare, adjourned the matter to Thursday for a review of facts and sentence, and then ordered that they be remanded at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

At the resumed hearing of the matter for review of facts, the prosecutor called Mr Benjamin Naetah, a Senior Exhibits Keeper with the agency, who tendered the drugs and other exhibits, which were admitted by the court.

Upon the conclusion of the review of facts, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence the trio in accordance with the sections of the NDLEA Act that they were charged with.

Advertisement
ALSO READ  Kaduna police arrest kidnapper, recover weapon

But the convicts’ lawyers, Lilian Omotunde and Ore-Ofe Ogunleye, in their plea for mercy, urged the court to award a non-custodian sentence on their clients, being first-time convicts and for not wasting the time of the court.

Omotunde, who is the counsel for the first and second convicts, said: “The first convict is a first-time offender; he is a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. He was contracted by the roadside to deliver a good after Lagos State, but he was caught up by the law.

“The second convict is a 35-year-old medicine store attendant, who was sent on an errand by his master.

“I urge the court to award a non-custodian sentence,” she said.

Also, counsel for the third convict, Ogunleye, urged the court to award a non-custodian sentence to her client.

Advertisement

She particularly cited Section 426(2) paragraphs a, b, d and e of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Responding to the counsel’s submissions, the prosecutor, Erondu, who also cited Section 311 of ACJA, urged the court to consider the commercial quantity of the prohibited drug seized from the convicts and the damage it would have done to the country.

In his judgment, Justice Ogundare sentenced the first and second convicts to two years imprisonment, while the third convict was sentenced to a year imprisonment.

The judge however ordered both the first and second convicts to pay the sum of N500,000 each, and the third convict to pay the sum of N100,000, in lieu of the jail term.

ALSO READ  Ebonyi Police Confirm Cult Clashes, Arrest Suspects

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Crime

NAFDAC arrests five for allegedly selling fake cosmetics in Abuja

Published

on

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday in Abuja arrested five persons for selling counterfeit cosmetics.

Theheute reports that the arrest was made at the Garki and Wuse axis, during an enforcement to curb the sales of substandard goods.

Speaking with newsmen after the enforcement, Mr Embugushiki-Musa Godiya, NAFDAC Head of Investigation and Enforcement, Federal Taskforce, said that the arrested persons would be investigated.

Godiya said that NAFDAC would work to ensure that fake cosmetics and other counterfeit products were completely wiped out of the country.

Advertisement

He said that the agency had been investigating some of these counterfeit cosmetics, following intelligence reports. He added that some of these products were illegally imported into the country, in spite of security at the border.

“NAFDAC is present in all the ports of entry of the country, but with the nature of our borders, these smugglers will always find a way to beat the system that the government has put in place.

“That is why if they escape from the port or borders, we go to the market and to all the places, gather intelligence reports, go after them and confiscate these products for possible prosecution,” Godiya said.

He said that the market value of the seized cosmetics was N35 million, adding that NAFDAC would continue investigation into the issue, to unravel the level of involvement of the suspects.

Godiya said that after investigation, the management of the agency may prosecute those suspects for the crime committed.

Advertisement
ALSO READ  17-Year-Old Arrested For Allegedly Defiling Two Minors In Kano

He called on Nigerians to collaborate with NAFDAC to fight counterfeit products in the country.

Continue Reading

Crime

NDLEA busts 80 suspects, seizes 3,000kg of drugs in FCT

Published

on

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested over 80 suspected drug dealers with over 3,000kg of drugs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between January and March.

Mr Kabir Tsukuwa, Commander of Narcotics (CN), NDLEA, FCT Command, said this in an interview with the press

Tsakuwa said that over 50 suspects had been prosecuted adding that out of the number, 12 had been convicted and sentenced to different jail terms.

He said that the command had been going after the drug peddlers and the records were there to show from the arrest and seizure over the years.

Advertisement

”If not for the continuous effort of the agency and the command in particular, the drug situation in FCT and even the entire country would have been worst,” he said.

The NDLEA commander said that the current situation of drug abuse in the FCT was not a peculiar one as it was same world over.

Tsakuwa said that drug abuse was a major concern to all countries of the world.

He said that all regional and global bodies like ECOWAS, EU and UNODC were advocating for global concerted efforts to deal with the challenge of drug trafficking and abuse.

He said: “the drug situation varies from countries to countries, states to states and even localities.

Advertisement

According to him, the command has maintained consistent raids of drug joints within the FCT, even though, that cannot be said to have been dismantled completely but it is a continuous process.

ALSO READ  Invasion of Oyo gov’s office act of terrorism, says commissioner

“There is no society that is crime free, not even the developed world.

“In 2023 alone, we arrested over 500 suspects with over 7,000kg of assorted drug seizure and conviction of over 200 offenders.

Tsakuwa said that the issue of drug abuse was serious, adding that Nigerians must join in the continuous fight against the drug menace.

He emphasised that there was a strong nexus between drug abuse and other criminalities like kidnapping, insurgency, theft, armed robbery among others.

Advertisement

“When drug abuse and trafficking is dealt with, the rise in other criminalities will certainly drop.

“Although, we have had cases where we carry out operations of drug joints, but the next minute, they are back again.

“Be that as it may, we shall continue to give in our best to ensure sustainable action in our efforts.

“We shall not rest until we achieve our desired goal of drug free environment in the Federal Capital, “he said.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2022 TheHeute.