John Ameh, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately go after the promoters of the Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, otherwise known as MMM, in Nigeria.
Lawmakers strongly opposed the investment scheme, which has lately gained popularity among Nigerians in the wake of the current economic recession in the country.
The MMM promises 30 per cent return on investment for any money put into the scheme for 30 days.
The investment scheme has a Russian origin and “involves directing clients to make money available for an anonymous person with a promise of 30 per cent return within one month.”
But, members of the House described the scheme as a scam and warned Nigerians not to be carried away by the mouth-watering returns on investment that it promised.
Lawmakers warned that the trick being used by the operators was to attract as many Nigerians as possible to invest substantial amounts of money before the bubble would burst.
The House directed the EFCC, security agencies and the CBN to take urgent steps to halt the scheme before many Nigerians would become victims of the alleged scam.
It also asked its committees on Banking/Currency and Financial Crimes to investigate the activities of the MMM scheme in Nigeria “with a view to saving Nigerians participating in the scheme from financial ruin.”
The Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, Mr. Saheed Fijabi, had in a motion, drawn the attention of lawmakers to the growing popularity of the scheme among the citizens.
“The scheme entered the Nigerian circle in 2016, capitalising on the high level of unemployment and poverty to deceive unwary Nigerians into falling prey to the antics of the promoters,” Fijabi stated.
He said the fact that the MMM was not regulated by law or approved by the CBN as a secured business venture made Nigerians more vulnerable.
“Any Nigerian, who is participating in the MMM scheme, which is not regulated by law, is vulnerable to losing his/her investment, as there is no identifiable platform to guarantee the security of such, given the declaration by the CBN that the scheme is fraudulent,” he told the House.
The Deputy House Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyeama, recalled that in the past, Nigerians had fallen prey to ponzi investment schemes and banks that promised huge profits.
Onyeama cited the case of the infamous ‘Umana-Umana’ wonder bank, which operated in Calabar, Cross River State, years back.
He added, “We have a responsibility to guide Nigerians before the bubble bursts. Very soon, people will begin to commit suicide or resort to this same House by writing petitions on how some investors took their money away.
“The profit margin promised by the MMM is too good to be real. What type of business gives you such return over a short period?”
The Chairman, House Committee on Federal Judiciary, Mr. Aminu Shagari, supported the motion and called on the EFCC and the CBN to urgently look into the operation of the scheme.
Another member from Adamawa State, Mr. Abdulrahman Abubakar, said, “What is the CBN waiting for? It should have invited security agencies to protect Nigerians already