Anambra CP kicks as diaspora group accuses him of diverting N20bn cooperative investments

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A group has petitioned Kayode Egbetokun, the inspector general of police (IGP), to intervene in an alleged case of fraud and misappropriation of funds by Aderemi Adeoye, commissioner of police in Anambra state.

In the petition dated January 30 the group accused Adeoye of operating a Ponzi scheme and misappropriating funds meant for investments in Alpha Trust Investment Club (ATIC), a cooperative set up by the commissioner.

Adeoye denies the allegation.

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The petition was signed by 33 persons residing in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and Nigeria.

According to the document, the group met the commissioner in 2017 via Facebook while he was serving in the African Union (AU) on secondment from Nigeria.

“He endeared himself to us and many others by projecting himself as a champion for victims of fraud and an upright man,” the petitioners said.

A year later, according to the group, Adeoye pitched the idea of setting up a cooperative investment club.

“His idea was that members of the cooperative club will pull (sic) funds together to invest in various products and platforms and profits will be shared based on the investments made by each member,” the petition reads.

“He also suggested that members can get bargain prices by buying landed properties together in a large group.

“His suggestion was welcomed by many of us, especially those in the Diaspora. It was seen as an opportunity to invest in Nigeria and, as it is fronted and led by a senior Police Officer, such investments can be done in an atmosphere of trust and confidence.

“Indeed, the trust level on Mr Adeoye was so high and the attraction of his suggestion was so strong that initial payments for investments were made directly to his personal bank account.”

The group said Adeoye subsequently set up a bank account in the club’s name as it grew with members’ funds.

“By 2023, there were more than 1,400 members in ATIC,” the petition said, adding that Adeoye stated that the club’s investments were worth over N20 billion at the time.

As the club grew in size, so did demands for transparency and accountability.

The group said the Anambra CP controlled the cooperative like a personal business, ignoring routines and using threats to keep members silent.

“To compound matters, investments made by members were shrouded in secrecy and opacity, with no clarity in sums invested, contracts entered with third parties, and decision-making processes that lead to investments,” the group added.

“Our complaints center on a lack of accountability, lack of proper structure, gross abuse of powers, intimidation, arbitrary punitive actions against members, negligence of duty, and a failure to adhere to regulatory requirements. All of these have cost members dearly.”

The group added that Adeoye may have perfected plans to disappear into thin air with investors’ funds upon retirement.

“We recently learned that Mr Adeoye would be retiring from the Police sometime in March this year. We also learned that he has moved his family out of Nigeria,” the petition added.

“The N20billion cooperative has no physical address, no website, no staff, and no documentation relating to individual purchases through the Club, no record of our collective assets available to members.

“They are all in the custody of Mr Aderemi Adeoye if they exist at all. The only things that members have as proof of their multi-billion investments are whatever he says and a Facebook page!

“That Facebook page is at risk of being shut down at any time, and he may become inaccessible after retirement.”

‘DISGRUNTLED ELEMENTS SPREADING FALSE CLAIMS,’ SAYS ADEOYE

Reacting to the petition, Adeoye said that the claims were unfounded and that the petitioners need to provide proof.

Speaking on the investments allegedly shrouded in secrecy, the commissioner said the allegations were misdirected, saying the companies where investments were made exist.

“Sujimoto on Banana Island, we bought fifth floor of a high rise building for N1.79 billion, so far we have paid approximately N1 billion and the apartments are to be sold for N4.9 billion. It’s still being constructed,” he said.

“Adron Homes is a popular company in Lagos and popular all over the country. Most of our purchases are with Adron Homes.

“We bought in Abuja Manhattan Estate. We bought a total of 400 plots. In Shimawa Cape Town Estate, behind Redeemed Camp on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, we bought 600 plots at N760,000 per plot. A plot is now selling for N12 million.

“In Ibeju Lekki, we bought from the same Adron. We bought total of eight plots at N10 million per plot in 2018. Today, a plot is N100 million. Of course you can verify everything I’m telling you, that’s why I’m mentioning numbers and locations and price.

“We also bought in Bridge Estate 25 plots, we bought at N2.5 million in 2019. Today a plot is N25 million. We have about 1,000 plots in Port Harcourt near the international airport.

“We christened the place ATIC city and we bought from Revolution Plus properties in Lagos at N600,000 per plot. A plot is close to N2m today and so on and so forth. We have assets all over the place.

“The allegations that the club is a Ponzi scheme is unfounded. Ponzi scheme is when you collect money from newcomers to pay old members. We don’t do that.

“When a new set of members join us, the money they invest in buying the club shares, we apply them to pay for lands that we’ve already bought and for which payment is still ongoing.”

Adeoye said the dividends paid to members annually are generated from financial instruments such as the stock market, the forex market, and other financial markets.

“Since 2018, we have paid dividends every year without fail. Last year, we declared N85 million naira dividend, a year before it was N83 million, the year before it was N56 million, the year before it was N26 million and the first year it was N10 million. I generate all the money by trading financial instruments,” he added.

When asked to address the concerns about a lack of administrative support raised by the petitioners, Adeoye said: “It is very funny and strange when members make such a claim because it means members are not conversant with our investment models”.

“We don’t have any employee, we don’t pay salary, we don’t have an office, we don’t have a generator, we don’t have an official car, we run on a zero-expense model, everybody is a volunteer, all of us are investors,” he said.

The police commissioner said the petitioners had previously been expelled from the club on account of “gross misconduct”.

“When members are expelled for misconduct, they will leave our launch. For settlement of their claims, we have an exit launch where anyone who wants to leave or is expelled is added to by invite,” Adeoye added.

“This renegade group refused to accept the invitations so that they can create the impression that they are being scammed.

“Over 70 members who left voluntarily due to economic downturns are in the group and we are processing settlement of their claims.

“These ones can be advised to make themselves available to the exit launch and follow due process.”

Adeoye added that some 1400 “satisfied” members of the investment club are currently writing a counter petition to prove “that those who signed the petition you have are disgruntled elements expelled for criminal activities”.

“These are the facts and we have all the necessary evidence to prove,” he added.