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Ponzy Scam: Ikoku Traders Loss N200m Deposits

Traders in Port Harcourt may have lost over N200m to a money deposit firm, which disappeared, after collecting huge sums of money from the traders.

Reports said the organization; De Max Ltd which operated the scheme had opened offices at the Ikoku spare parts market, Okija Electrical market and the Mile III market area all in Port Harcourt; and was paying 50% weekly interest on all deposits.

According to some traders at the Ikoku spare parts markets, the company started operations in the area in March and had been paying the 50% interests on deposits made by the costumers, until last Friday, 6th April, when it failed to open for business.

Reports said customers who rushed to the offices of the organization on Friday morning to make deposits and withdraw due interests met the iron doors to the offices securely locked.

The customers were said to have raised alarm after they waited for hours in vain. It was also gathered that the angry costumers forced the iron doors of the Ikoku branch open and ransacked the offices.

Some of the traders told The Vortex that they lost huge amounts of money which they deposited with the company, adding that they were lured to patronize the scheme since it had been paying its customers in the three weeks of operation.

The traders also revealed that the operators only allowed cash deposits as no transaction was allowed through the banks or by money transfers.

The organization was said to have recruited lady marketers who moved to shops to collect deposits which are receipted and taken to the receiving office in the market.

The Vortex investigation showed that some traders made deposits of between N250,000 – N10m to the scheme before it collapsed and that over 500 traders participated in the scheme in the various markets in Port Harcourt.

A victim at the Ikoku spare parts market who did not want his name mentioned, while showing receipts issued to him by the organization told The Vortex that the least deposits to the scheme was between N30.000 – N50.000.

Information on the receipts issued to the customers showed that the company, De Max Ltd, had its head office at 31, Ojiogbu Street, Mile III along Ikwere Road.

Traders also told The Vortex that they were convinced to patronize the scheme following the presence of policemen who they stated, provided security for the company.

The Vortex visited the Ikoku office situated on a shopping plaza at 33 Amaigbo Road and met the office empty while the Okija electrical market office was still under lock and key; as at the time of the visit.

When contacted on the issue the PPRO of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni said the police not aware of the incident.

Omoni stated that the command provide security to any organization that applies for security stressing that the presence of policemen in any organization is not enough for people to patronize illegal schemes without proper investigations.

The police image maker said the traders who lost money in the scheme should have themselves to blame, as according to him, there have been several warnings to the public on such transactions, in view of recent developments such as the collapsed ‘MMM’ and the ‘Umana Umana’ Saga.

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