Apparently embarrassed by the negative publicity and possible implications with Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies, Ernest Mbanefo has since denied that he is the owner of the scheme.
While Ernest did admit that he registered the site but denied the full ownership of MMM Nigeria, a Ponzi Scheme that boasts of over 1.6 million members as at November.
Ernest did not however say the whole truth about the ownership of the scheme. His denial and admittance of partial ownership has further revealed the inner workings of MMM Nigeria.
However, here is what we know and what is possibly the truth about who owns MMM Nigeria and how it is being run.
There are two factions in MMM Nigeria with two look alike domains.
The domain name with ‘mmm-nigeria.net’ was created and owned by Ernest Mbanefo while the domain name with the address ‘nigeria-mmm.net’ was created and owned by Chudi Anayo Ugochi. While these two sites are independently run, they are linked together.
Ernest runs, maintains his own site while Chudi manages his own version of the scheme with the help of two ‘deputees’- Yinka Odeyemi and Owolabi Temitope. In an interview conducted by one of his staff, Ola Favoured, she referred to Chudi as the ‘number one man of MMM Nigeria’ and Yinka Odeyemi as the ”number two man’. These titles means that Chudi is more or less the CEO while Yinka is the COO of the Ponzi Scheme.
Moreover throughout the nearly 30 minutes interview, at no point was Ernest Mbanefo mentioned. You would recall that Ernest Mbanefo is based in South Africa. According to the domain registration details for his own version of MMM Nigeria site, he registered it in South Africa. Further investigations revealed that his own operations is also sanctioned by Sergei Mavrodi.
However, there seems to be further division amongst the Chudi and Ernest factions of MMM Nigeria. Three weeks ago, MMM West Africa, another lookalike site using the same template and Ponzi Scheme software by MMM Global floated its operations. In the first week, the scheme is already claiming to have garnered over 12,000 members. The ownership of MMM West Africa is also hidden. Some sources claimed the owner is an alleged breakaway faction from the Chudi faction.
A financial analyst said “There is no confusion between these two factions of MMM Nigeria. Since they all get paid and the brand name is further advanced whichever domain it is being accessed. MMM Nigeria ‘members’ and or ‘customers’ are also less bothered about who owns the scheme so far as they get paid. However, this stance will soon change. The eventual implosion of MMM Nigeria would spur a catastrophic uproar among its members. They will want to get their money back and the first question would be who owns MMM Nigeria?”
A Ponzi Scheme analysts told PageOne.ng that it should be noted that “MMM Nigeria and anyone who runs it owes its members the duty for transparency. Real transparency starts with identifying with the scheme”.
He added that “If you earn your daily bread from MMM, why should you conceal your identity and deny you own it?” he added.