NO fewer than three million Nigerians have lost about N18 billion to the Phonzi scheme, popularly referred to as Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has hinted.
The scheme, since it announced new guidelines for its operations in Nigeria late 2016, has not recorded new investor while the existing ones have not been able to recoup their savings from the unlicenced fund managers.
Speaking at the 38th Kaduna International Trade Fair, yesterday, Managing Director of NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, who made the shocking revelation, said frequent usage of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Onecoin as currencies for medium of exchange are Internet-based transactions and are not authorised by the CBN due to the risks involved in their operations.
Represented by the deputy director of Corporate Affairs, Alhaji Hadi Suleiman, Ibrahim regretted that despite repeated warnings by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the corporation, Nigerians still get involved in shady transactions. He said anyone still involved in ponzi scheme “is on his own.”
He said with the advent of the cashless policy and the subsequent licensing of mobile money operators (MMOs) by the CBN, NDIC has extended deposit insurance cover to the subscribers of MMOs to the maximum limit of N500, 000 per subscriber per bank through it’s Pass-Through Deposit Insurance Framework.
“Phonzi scheme is the phenomenon of illegal fund managers, popularly called “Wonder Banks” which have continued to defraud unsuspecting members of the public of their hard earned money. This phenomenon has been a concern because despite our repeated warnings over the years, some members of the public have continued to fall victims of their fraudulent practices.
“We would like to reiterate that these fund managers are illegal as they are neither licensed by the CBN to take deposits from members of the public nor are those who patronise them covered by the NDIC deposit insurance scheme.
“I want to also draw the attention of some cooperative society which often go beyond their primary mandate by accepting contributions from members that cooperative societies are only recognised to mobilise savings from their members,” he said.
While advising the general public on the dangers of keeping large sums of money at home or in market shops, he encouraged them to make use of banks around them. He said there are 978 licensed micro finance banks nationwide, out of which seven are spread across Kaduna state which they can comfortably patronise