An investment company, Top Earners Market Limited, owners of African Consolidated Exchange, has been accused of failing to pay returns since September 2021, leaving investors groaning with pain.
The company, which was registered in Seychelles and founded by Ian Mvula, a South African, who is an expert in stocks, foreign exchange, crypto and commodities, is said to have been ‘dribbling’ inquisitive investors in Nigeria since September and had failed to give any concrete reason for its inability to pay ROI.
According to findings by SaharaReporters, persons who put their money in the company’s operations have either been blocked on ACEX’s social media platforms or threatened to be dealt with each time they asked questions about their investments.
A Nigerian man named Michael Olugbenga, who told SaharaReporters that he was introduced to ACEX by his wife, disclosed that he was only paid dividends in July 2021 when he invested N160,000 in the firm’s operations and the following month, August, before things went wrong.
He disclosed that efforts by investors like him to get ROI since then, which is usually N50,000 monthly, had been fruitless as ACEX had also refused to allow them withdraw their initial deposit.
Olugbenga further stated that there were hundreds of thousands of Nigerians whose funds had been trapped in ACEX.
“This investment platform has been playing with investors’ rights? We made investment with them and they have refused to pay us our ROI since September 2021 and they have been postponing withdrawal through vain promises.
“It was formerly called Top Earners Africa and Top Earners Market but was later changed to African Consolidated Exchange. The migration was done for almost six months and withdrawal of ROI was done last in August 2021. Since then, they have been postponing withdrawal through vain promises which look like a delay tactic.
“They promised that withdrawal would take place last month but later said verification should be done first. This was postponed to February which I know is a lie.
“When any investor complains on their social pages, they are blocked and the comments deleted.
“They are based in Kenya without any visible office. It’s an online investment platform which trades on various businesses like force, real estate, cryptocurrency, etc.
“I was paid dividends twice before the issue arose. My sister also collected twice but my wife’s colleague has not received anything at all, he wanted to use the money for his children’s school fees.
“Since September 2021, payment or withdrawal has stopped till now. They promised this month but it’s not sure.
“Investors in Nigeria are many and most are helpless and indebted. Some people invested millions. Everything is gone now,” he said.
Another investor, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Friday, Margret Ekam, disclosed that she put in N300,000 into ACEX’s operations and was now worried about the fate of her money.
“A friend introduced the investment platform to me. I also got dividends for some time before the company started coming up with excuses last September.
“I am really worried because it was my entire savings that I put into the scheme, hoping to get some good returns to start a business I have been planning to do.
“Each time I have complained on their social media page, they delete my comments and threaten stiff sanctions. I am confused at what they are really driving at. I really hope that they keep their word and pay us our money,” Ekam said.
Head of ACEX’s Marketing Unit, Mr Sylvester Awojide, had yet to offer any response when contacted by SaharaReporters over the issue on Friday.
This is not the first time that business people promising massive returns on investments would be running away with funds belonging to members of the public –the latest merely adds to a long list of such fraudulent acts by conmen often aided by powerful Nigerians.
For instance, in May 2021, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested one Amos Olaniyan for using DHIL Nigeria Limited to allegedly defraud people of over N128 million through a shady investment scheme.
In September 2021, 24-year-old Adewale Jayeoba of Wales Kingdom Capital Limited, was declared wanted by the EFCC for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting victims to the tune of N935 million.
Between October 2020 and August 2021, Nigerians were fleeced of over N12 billion by about 10 Ponzi schemes promising outrageous returns on investments, according to data obtained from the website of the EFCC.
This is aside from the over N18 billion Nigerians lost to the infamous Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM) between 2015 and 2016.
Despite several petitions to anti-graft agencies in Nigeria, not many perpetrators of these crimes have been punished for the frauds.