One Patrick Shanchi Nwokike and his wife Rosemary Ifeoma Nwokike of Enugu State, South East Nigeria, have been docked for operating an alledged Ponzi scam that collected about NGN4 billion from investors.
Let’s Partner With You was founded and solely run by Patrick Shanchi Nwokike and his wife across the state. The scheme promise its investors a minimum of 10% monthly returns on investment after depositing a certain principal.
By Nigerian law, only a commercial bank, investment bank and other licensed asset managers are authorised to undertake and run such operations under the approval and supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC.
Patrick Shanchi Nwokike registered the company as ‘Let’s Partner With You Ltd.’. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is the prosecutor in the case.
Patrick Shanchi Nwokike and his wife were arraigned before an Enugu state High Court on a 10-count charge bordering on Advanced Fee Fraud and carrying out banking business without a valid license.
According to the ir charge sheet, “The offense runs contrary to the provisions of Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and is punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act. It also breaches Section 2(1) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act”.
It was alleged that several investors have not been able to either recoup their returns nor their actual invested principal for several months.
At the first hearing, the charges was read to the first and second defendant as:
“That you, LET’S PARTNER WITH YOU LTD, Patrick Shanchi Nwokike (Managing Director/CEO of LET’S PARTNER WITH YOU LTD) and Rosemary Ifeoma Nwokike (Director of LET’S PARTNER WITH YOU LTD) sometime between January and April, 2016 at Enugu within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N8,000,000:00 (Eight Million Naira) from Nwagbolu Emeka Onyekwelu under the false pretense of paying him 10% interest monthly on the said sum which representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
Both first and second defendant pleaded not guilty. They were granted bail for NGN5 million each with two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a civil servant not below grade level 12 and resident in Enugu State. He/She must produce letter of first appointment and letter of last promotion. The second surety must be a landowner and shall produce his Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
It is still unclear whether the SEC is a part to the suit filed by the EFCC.
More than 500 different Ponzi schemes are now operating in Nigeria. With the advancement of digital technology, many of them are now operated online with anonymous promoters.