Ceepass investors; a digital savings and investment bank, Viable X; export financing platform and Farm4me; a contract farming platform in Nigeria (all run by one man) have called the platforms CEO Adama J Adama as they demand that their overdue funds be paid immediately.
Embittered by the company’s continued promise and failure to repay principal investment and returns, investors who kept hoping they would one day wake up to a credit alert from the platforms appear to be at the end of their tether. .
For months, investors have continued to suffer in silence, jaws dropping in fear of losing when government agencies get involved despite the wound getting deeper every day.
“What good is money when the government sits on it?” They often argued.
Yet promises continue to be broken and shattered, draining investors’ confidence that they have nothing left to offer – after all pending bills must be settled with real money and not on promises in reality.
For investors like Sopi (as tagged on social media) who had to take a loan out of his salary, add little savings, and invest in ViableX and Ceepass, he only wanted to raise enough to take care of his triplet, little did he know that would make it the biggest mistake of his life.
According to him, his investment with ViableX matured on November 13, 2021, and another in Ceepass matured on January 11, 2022. So far (at the time of this report), nothing has been paid out.
Similar to Sopi’s case, Mariam and other investors are going through trauma due to a lack of clear direction and continued silence on a specific payment date that fuels suspense that the platform could be another “MMM”.
“He defaulted on my payment since December 2021, then sent a one-time communication in February tagging it January. We emailed him a letter through all channels to make sure he told us about the payment plan timeline, but there was no respect or response. Sincerely, we are running out of patience,said Mariam, referring to a unanimous letter sent by the group of investors following an initial “status report on business activities” from Napoloen Chambers, the lawyer for Ceepass, Viable X and Farm4me.
In Napoleon Chambers’ letter, the lawyer said that Ceepass, which is the company’s flagship business, suffered serious setbacks due to the hacking of its online payment system, resulting in the loss of a huge sum. silver. He added that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating the matter.
He also said that the conglomerate’s move to use manual payment has caused payment delays to investors due to the huge volume of investors who need to be manually verified for payment.
Meanwhile, he said in his pledge: “In accordance with the terms of the contract duly signed between our clients and their numerous investors, our clients hereby guarantee that no investor will lose his penny, our client will not rest in his efforts.
He added: “To ensure that all monies due to all investor rights would be fully liquidated no later than the end of March 2022 and the third week of April 2022. This is a commitment given in absolute honor based on track record of our customers and the ground effort”
Unfortunately, as of this writing, the company has yet to deliver as promised. According to investors, what is more shocking is that in all of this, the CEO, Adama J Adama, has failed to address investors and has blocked all channels through which he can be reached on the social networks.
In the letter written earlier in February by the investors and seen by Nairametrics, the investors had called the CEO, asking that the company communicate in clear terms on the completion of payments to all investors by/until March 2022 as well as on setting up a Zoom or Google Teams meeting for an interactive session with all convened for the explanation followed by a signed letter based on what was agreed that would be sent to all investors. But none of these recommendations were followed.
What the company says
In a phone call with the company manager for the Lagos unit, Sunday Odachie, he agreed that the company is currently facing difficult times but told Nairametrics that the company is working on the way to solve challenges and pay money to all investors.
Asked about the specific payday, he replied: “At some point the platform was hacked but we will all have to be patient as everything would be resolved very soon. We stipulated payment deadlines in December, end of March and the like, but we kept failing and the more time we give and fail, the more people bully us and get angry. We are therefore careful not to be precise on the delivery date. It may be tomorrow or next week; it will happen, we are very much in business.
Commenting on what the company is doing to address the issue, he said the platform is using all possible means including seeking grants and partnerships, while implying to Nairametrics that the company is waiting for funding from bank export.
He said, “Our export earnings are suspended in the banks. We have dollars on hold because some products have not been disbursed. You know everything that has to do with overseas transactions, sometimes there are some hiccups along the line.
Regarding the reasons for the lack of communication, he said the company has always contacted investors via text messages and emails.
“It’s not true that we don’t answer calls. The customer support line is activated. Our office in Ikeja is also open, but some investors just come on social media and say we have closed the office. Sometimes when they say we’re not responding, I think that’s the solution they’re referring to. Once their money is not paid, they will say you are not answering”, he said.
Notably, Ceepass, Viable X and Farm4me are all tied together as one, with Cesspass hosting them all. This means that each investor has an account on Ceepass. This therefore explains why the three accounts were affected by the hack. However, a major concern is: if the account has been hacked, is the investors fund still intact?
Responding to the concern, Odachie said: “The investigations are still in progress and this would allow to know the extent of the damage. At this time, we cannot clearly determine the extent of the damage although we know that they tampered with the funds. Other than that, we are legally bound by an agreement to pay them whether there is a problem or not.
Speaking on whether the principal will be paid along with the return on investment, he noted that the agreement stipulated that if something goes wrong, the least we can pay them is their principal investment. In the meantime, he added that the company has not yet made a decision on whether the capital alone will be paid or if returns will be added.
At the end of the line
Crowdfunding in Nigeria has recently shifted south, fueling a growing sense of pessimism towards the crowdfunding industry in the country.
From Farm Power to Payfarmer, Goldvest, Emerald farms, Vestpay, HO Corn, FarmKonnect, Farm Sponsor and an endless list of companies, these platforms known to fund a project or business by raising funds from a large number of people who contribute relatively small amounts, usually via the Internet, have defaulted or delayed payments from investment funds, along with the return on investment (ROI) to investors.
You can read why crowdfunding platforms in Nigeria are failing here