…As EFCC lets her off the hook.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Barely one year after, the Managing Director (MD) of Famzhi Agro Investment Company, claiming Hajiya Maryam, is nowhere to be found with the multi-million naira profit and capitals belonging to those, who invested in her Money-spinning firm.
The company, located at No. 15, Zone B, Madaki Lane Byazin, Kubwa, Abuja, which collected monies from vulnerable Nigerians, mostly widows, women, retirees and unemployed, has gone down the drain.
Popularly known as Hajiya Maryam, the Ebira strong woman was on several occasions dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ICPC and other relevant anti-graft agencies by aggrieved investors, but was let-off the hooks after allegedly bribing her way.
Trouble, however, started last year, in February 2020, when the company became bankrupt and could no longer afford payment of profits to its numerous investors anymore.
Earlier, the management of the company, which had blamed their failure on COVID-19 lockdown, pledged to resume payment of profits in April, 2020, but failed to fulfill its promise, a development which triggered demand for refunds of capital by the investors, in accordance with the guiding rules.
While the imbroglio lasted, a pregnant woman, who invested all her money in the company, allegedly slumped in the company’s premises due to shock, when she discovered the firm had gone bankrupt, but was later rehabilitated and rushed to a hospital, according to a co-investor eyewitness account, who attributed the incident also to hunger.
Our correspondent, who visited the company, reported that the MD had sometimes engaged the services of Mobile Policemen to protect staffs’ harassment and threat by aggrieved investors coming to seek for their money that had been trapped in the company, on daily basis but in vain.
Investigation also revealed that a man (name withheld), who invested heavily in the Famhzi Interbiz Company, also allegedly attempted suicide due to failure of the management to pay his profits and capital invested for a long time.
Eyewitnesses said the man, who attempted suicide together with other investors, later transferred their anger on the company’s properties and severely destroyed several of them openly.
Further investigation revealed, too, that several other investors had threatened the life of the MD, one Haj. Maryam, and other top management staffs due to failure of the company for months.
Findings also revealed that the company collected millions of money as capital from vulnerable investors through persuasion and promised them fantastic monthly percentage but failed to comply.
Our correspondent also gathered that individuals invested between N50,000 to N2 million each, and even more, in terms of cash transferred to the company’s Sterling Bank account for purpose of profits and material gains.
In the company flier obtained, it stated that Famhzi Interbzi paid their investors or partners some percentage, depending on the amount and duration of their investments.
“Monthly investments attract 20% plus your original capital, less than 20% in the fourth months, which is retained as registration fees. We also give investors the benefit of collecting their rewards in livestock,” it stated, among others.
Insider sources said the 20% profits later dropped to 10% between December, 2019, and February, 2020, even before the COVID-19 lockdown, adding that the company stopped payment completely since March hitherto.
The bubble busted when the promise to pay investors’ profits, from April 2020, failed to materialize, to the abysmal dismay of the investors, who could no longer bear the promise and failed company’s tactics.
A woman, who introduced herself as a widow, vented her anger openly on one Malakai, a company staff, and threatened to spark a surprise when she returned back without seen the MD or the HOD.
She said, as a widow she had invested millions but had not been paid her profit and capital, thereby putting and her children in hunger and starvation.
Contacted, the Police Station nearer to the company confirmed the information, and said they’ve been receiving several complaints and notice of threats to the company’s staffs by aggrieved investors, but stressed that “It’s a civil matter.”
An investor, who did not want her name in print, said the company, which promised to refund profits and capitals to investors, also failed to fulfill the promise after collecting bank details.
Findings also revealed that the sole founder of the company (which is already closed down), however, built an edifice in the area with the investors’ monies, which provoked more negative reactions.