Monday, October 3, 2022

Access Bank Lied Under Oath; The Maxwell Odum Case

Excerpts from Report made by David Hundeyin. This report alos side others will share shows how corrupt and untrustworthy the Access bank, Nigerian banking system reportedly is. Read the report below:

Access Bank And The MBA Forex Inside Story

These days, Maxwell Chizi Odum is known as the criminal mastermind behind one of the biggest ponzi schemes ever conceived in Africa. He has been declared wanted by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and his whereabouts have been unknown since 2021. Once a respected pastor and mentor, he now lives as a fugitive, albeit a rich one, possibly with a second passport and a new identity.

Things used to be very different for ‘Brother Maxwell.’ Following a fairly nondescript corporate career in the oil servicing industry, he came to prominence as a widely liked and admired pastor at the popular Believers’ Loveworld (Christ Embassy) church in Port Harcourt. It was here that he would lay the groundwork for what would become a N213bn heist.

As in so often the case in Nigeria, not many people bothered to ask how a Pentecostal pastor with no significant background in finance or investment supposedly figured out an investment secret guaranteed to make them fabulously wealthy. All they saw was that other people paid money into this thing known on the street as MBA Forex, and they came out with amazing double digit returns via an investment system that was far too complicated for anyone to really understand, even if they wanted to.

Something, something…trading strategy, something…binary forex options, something, something…cryptocurrency volatility. And then something about a matrix-based trading system, which you know, absolutely, definitely, positively was not a ponzi scheme like MMM.

Naturally, it was of course, a ponzi scheme, pretty much exactly like MMM.

Under Nigerian law, the act of soliciting for and receiving monetary deposits from the public constitutes an act of carrying on banking business which requires a banking licence from the CBN. Further, the commercial offer of any investments that promise fixed interest amounts when funds are invested for fixed periods of time is a strictly regulated activity that falls squarely under the oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

MBA Forex was doing both of these regulated activities despite having no kind of regulatory approval or permission whatsoever. In fact, beyond registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) – which pretty much anything with a pulse and a valid ID can do without any kind of regulatory spotlight – MBA Forex was an entirely illegal operation.

The difference between MBA Forex and MMM was that while MMM tried to obfuscate its centralised nature by using individual bank accounts, MBA Forex openly accepted funds into the corporate accounts it was somehow able to open at Access Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, First Bank, GT Bank, Sterling Bank, Sun Trust Bank, UBA, Unity Bank, Union Bank and Zenith Bank – despite having exactly zero CBN and SEC authorisation. This is where the story gets interesting.

Enter a company called World Citizen Equity Partners Limited. This company, purportedly a British company that organises citizenship-by-investment for wealthy people, registered in Nigeria on March 21, 2018, a few days after MBA Forex registered on March 14, 2018. WCEP would later claim that it had nothing to do with MBA Forex prior to December 2020, but the screenshot below contradicts this. Keep this in mind because it becomes important later.

In August 2020, Maxwell Odum transferred 100 million of his shares in MBA Forex to WCEP, in a transaction that saw some familiar names take up investment positions in the ponzi scheme.

The two gentlemen mentioned in the documents above are a former House of Representatives member and a former Nigerian Ambassador to the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) respectively. Exactly why Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada and Ambassador Usman Baraya decided to buy shares in a ponzi scheme remains unclear.

In December 2020, MBA Forex met the inevitable fate of all ponzi schemes, and thousands of Nigerians were thrown into mourning as their dreams of making it rich went up in smoke. Over the next few weeks and months, court orders and regulatory actions began rolling in to freeze accounts and potentially reimburse investors. Access Bank, which had hosted the majority of funds harvested by MBA Forex and Maxwell Odum, was front and centre of the investigation.

The bank however, decided to conceal the true role it played in aiding and abetting the ponzi scheme. In a sworn statement provided through its lawyer, the bank claimed that it had closed all the offending accounts as soon as it was told to, and that in any case, the main MBA Forex account had just a little over N200,000 left inside it. In an effort to hide the central role it played in enabling Maxwell Odum to get away with the scam, Access Bank also lied under oath, stating that World Citizen Equity Partners (Respondent 10) never had an account with the bank.

An affidavit sworn by Dickson Ukaha, a former Access Bank customer relationship manager in Port Harcourt directly contradicted this account of events. In his sworn statement, Ukaha stated that not only did WCEP maintain an account with Access Bank, but several transfers worth hundreds of million of naira – the sort that normally raise every AML red flag in the bank – were made from the MBA Forex account to the WCEP account months before the purported sale by Maxwell Odum.

So here we have a bank that knowingly enabled an illegal investment scheme without CBN or SEC licenses to fleece customers of billions of naira, and then lied under oath afterward to cover up the extent of its involvement in the MBA Forex fiasco. My source informed me that not only did Access Bank lie about not maintaining a WCEP account, but the account is very much active. Just to be sure, I asked for the account details and did a little test transaction to see if it would check out. And sure enough…

Enough said, I think.

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