Nine years ago, my mum was introduced to a cool, quick money making venture, they called it WEALTHGATE. How do you make your money? You buy a form from an old member which would be submitted for you at the office, afterwards you go and deposit any amount of money with them, the money would be multiplied within a month, If you were able to convince other people to register, your money would be tripled. My mum registered and deposited 9,000 Naira. I was her confidant, my eyes saw everything and my ears heard everything . Well, after “we” paid it wasn’t up to a month when my mum received a phone call from her friend, the friend sounded frantic on phone when my mum could not hear what she was saying, she came over to our house.
“Moti rogo ooo, won ni WEALTHGATE ti fold up! Yeeeeeeeh” she smashed herself on the rug(thank God we had a rug). My mum was still composed and asked if she could remember she said they can collect the exact amount they deposited back if anything happens. That calmed her down and they went to the “bank” together, lo and behold! Their “office” was empty. My mum and her friend began to trace them around town with phone calls and they kept assuring them. Till date nothing was heard of them, they disappeared after collecting money from people. My mum was lucky the money wasn’t much but her friend wasn’t, she invested 50,000 Naira meant for her business 50,000 Naira nine years ago is like 500,000 naira today I guess.
That was years ago but does it sound familiar? Few months ago I saw a comment on Stella-Dimoko’s blog where a BV was talked about how someone nearly had an heart attack when she thought MMM has duped her off her money but she eventually got it and MMM is the best.
I paid no attention to it, not until my friend confided in me that she had used the money for her school fees and accommodation to “do” MMM.
I just smiled, It is not me that somebody would die on their neck after all the testimony she had read, heard and seen concerning MMM, who am I to pour mud into her Garri?
MMM is a ponzi scheme founded in 1989, it was established by Sergei Mavrodi, Vyascheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova, their surnames which begins with M became the name of the company. It was initially a company that imports computers and other materials needed in the office. Due to a brush with the law for tax evasion and problems with funding they delved into finance and launched their own successful Ponzi scheme in 1994. Ponzi scheme is named after Charles Ponzi who also originally began with a legitimate business before veering into the financial world. “It is a fraudulent
investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources. Operators of Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.” Wikipedia.
MMM began operating in South Africa in 2015 but “The group was identified as a possible pyramid scheme by the National Consumer Commission and accounts of clients were later frozen by Capitec Bank.” Wikipedia.
MMM then launched a website targeting Nigerians in 2016 and as the recession period that we are in now, people jumped at it even though they were skeptical about the whole thing at the beginning, but trust Nigerians they started registering friends, families and foes when MMM miracles began.
From the civil servants, to the frustrated government workers who were denied their salary for months to the entrepreneur who needs more funds for his/her business to the greedy people who wants excess cash, MMM became a Plutus. People kept smiling to the bank and it began to gain ground, it popularity spread far and wide and I could bet there is hardly a state in Nigeria where someone is not into MMM.
But, while MMM beneficiaries smile to the bank, can we take a moment to really look into this cool fast money making venture? If it is fraudulent why is it still in operation in Nigeria? CBN only released a statement saying they never approved the scheme, if so why is it still in operation? It was banned on this ground in South Africa and China. The only thing EFCC has done so far is threatening to look into it, since when? I challenge everyone working under EFCC to swear none of them is neck deep in this quick money making venture. There is no need to pretend like we are not living in a lawless country that closes it eyes to a crime and stare fixed at another. The court is now a place where people amuse themselves and the Judge act as the director of a play that is neither funny nor moving. Justice is a thing of the past, jungle justice now reigns Supreme.
I am not against people investing in whatever they deem fit, neither do I support schemes that promises you “s’ogun d’ogoji” gains, MMM is not different from gambling just that while you may get more than your money back or nothing at all in gambling, you get 30% increments on your money in MMM no matter what. Who am I to tell people what to do in this recession period when everyone is wearing frowns on their faces like uniform.
I can only tell everyone involved in it not to let it get too far, they should not be too involved in it, in fact I read it somewhere that MMM continously sings that “investors” should use extra cash or changes left after collecting salary, but many people have gone ahead to pump school fees, housekeeping money into the scheme, who remembers the Lagos housewife incident? there is a reason why this is being emphasized MMM is preparing you all for the shock of your lives and half a word is enough for the investor.
MMM is exactly one years old today but what is the future of MMM in Nigeria?
I can only wish people’s hopes don’t get dashed when MMM packs up in Nigeria, students, hawkers, supermarket owners, pensioners are into MMM. If MMM changes from being Millions of Money Making venture to Moku Mogbe Modaran business centre, I can only hope we won’t be conducting mass funeral services in Nigeria.