About 4,500 aggrieved investors have lashed the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Chinmark Group, Marksman Ijiomah, over unpaid funds invested in the company despite many deadlines given for refund. The funds it was learnt, is over 10 billion naira.
Caught in the web also include a social media influencer and brand ambassador for the “investment company”, Amanda Chisom; as well as another social media promoter of Chinmark, Harrison Gwamnishu.
The outraged investors, for days, have launched trials on social media, dragging Chinmark, Ijiomah, Chisom, Gwamnishu and all those who promoted the company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms.
The pained investors lamented losing their hard-earned money to Chinmark while alleging that the group was fraudulent.
The PUNCH learnt that the investors were promised mouthwatering return on investment to commit their funds running into billions of naira in Chinmark said to be into real estate, logistics, hospitality, and food businesses.
500 investors paid, 4,466 will be settled —Chinmark CEO
In a statement on his verified Facebook page, Chinmark CEO (Ijiomah) confirmed that his group received funds from “4,966 partners”, noting that “500 partners” have been paid so far but he had yet to publish the names of those that had received payment.
While he did not reveal the total amount received from all the investors, a receipt of a refund to an investor he posted on Facebook read N1.3m.
The Enugu-based businessman also pleaded with the remaining 4,466 investors to remain calm, saying that the operational bank accounts of his company were frozen by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He also noted that Chinmark has received “lots of petitions from government agencies by aggrieved partners”.
Ijiomah wrote, “From the proceeds of our business (Hospitality, Transportation, Food and Logistics) despite our operational bank accounts being frozen by Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) on December 21, 2021 till date, we resumed payment to our partners on March 16, 2022; so far, out of 4966 partners, we have been able to pay 500 partners following an arithmetic order from our backlogs.
“In a bid to show transparency in our dealings as always, full names of paid partners ought to have been published today but several calls/messages/emails from our distinguished partners have further restricted us from doing this.
“Let me reassure you that your money is safe with us and we remain committed to repaying all partners soonest, update on partnership repayment will be provided always and your managers will call to follow up; until then, I would humbly request you to kindly bear with us.”
Chinmark operations illegal —SEC
In a December 25, 2021 press statement on its official website, SEC described Chinmark as an “illegal operator”.
“The Commission hereby notifies the investing public that neither FinAfrica Investment Limited nor Chimark Group is registered by the SEC and the Investment Scheme promoted by these entities are also not authorized by the SEC.
“In view of the above, the general public is hereby warned that any person dealing with the within named Company in any capital market-related business is doing so at his/her own risk,” the statement partly read.
Efforts by The PUNCH to confirm from SEC Head of Corporate Communications, Efe Ebelo, whether the Commission froze the bank accounts of Chinmark or not were unsuccessful as of press time.
When contacted on Monday, the Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe, said, “The police is not a debt recovery agency.”
Also, spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, told our correspondent that he was not aware of any petition written by the aggrieved investors of Chinmark Group.
Investors threaten to assassinate me over unpaid funds – Facebook influencer
Meanwhile, amid the endless social media bashing, one of the promoters of Chinmark on Facebook (Chisom) has said that pained investors of the group have threatened to assassinate her over unpaid funds.
In an official statement on her verified Facebook page, Chisom with over 165,000 followers wrote, “First of all, let me acknowledge my part in being one of those who brought Mr. Marksman Chinedu Ijiomah and his company to limelight, even before the company became registered as Chinmark Group Limited. For someone I have known from the days of his humble beginnings, I felt like I know him to an extent…
“I did my best both professionally and as an individual, to ensure that what is happening now would never have happened, by providing the right advice to the company at all times when I had the opportunity.
“In the build-up to this time, on the 13th of January 2022, I was instructed by the company via an email, to refrain from saying anything about the company on my page and that closes all channels of communication. All effort to find out what was happening was completely blocked.
“I received several warnings and threats from some individuals and investors who felt that my Facebook post on ‘due diligenc’ affected the fortunes of the company. The threats are so far-reaching, that some of these persons have clearly threatened to assassinate me, should anything happen to the company.
“I have informed the relevant authorities of the extent of my involvement with the company and pledged my co-operation in any investigation that may arise.”
Also, another promoter of Chinmark (Gwamnishu) with over 158,000 followers on Facebook said he has gathered about 1,000 investors, even as he assured them that their funds would be recovered.
In a statement on his verified Facebook page on Monday, he wrote, “From my own end as a friend to Chinmark Group and who also posted and shared his business on my page. Below are steps I’m taking to ensure partners don’t lose out completely.
“I was able to get about 1,000 Chinmark investors through a google link I created and today they will be added to a platform.
“A committee will be appointed by the partners to interface with company. This is a one-on-one meeting where decisions will be taken.”
Unending investment scams
Many unsuspecting Nigerians have, in recent times, fallen victims to Ponzi schemes deftly branded as investment enterprises. Lured by mouthwatering and high return on investments, billions of naira belonging to desperate and greedy Nigerian investors, have been usurped by foremost Ponzi Machiavellians who lived exotic lifestyles off investors’ resources.
In December 2021, the EFCC declared the CEO of a Lagos-based forex training and capital investment company, MBA Capital and Trading Limited, Maxwell Odum, wanted over alleged fraud to the tune of N213bn.
Currently said to be on the run like Odum is Bamise Ajetumobi of Imagine Global Solution Limited.
Other leading Ponzi gurus accused and arrested for swindling investors of billions of naira include Akor Philip Paul of Benignant Forte Nigeria Limited, Dominic Joshua of Brisk Capital Limited, Harrison Osemwengie of HO Corn Farm, Adewale Jayeoba of Wales Kingdom Capital Limited, amongst others.