Story by Kayode Tokede
A 19-year-old man, Damilola Balogun has been docked and convicted of capital market fraud.
Balogun who hails from Kogi state, was arraigned on a one count charge of impersonation contrary to Section 179 of the Penal Code Law, Chapter 89 before Magistrate Ibrahim Mohammed of Senior Magistrate Court Zone 6, Wuse, Abuja.
After the charge was read to Balogun, he admitted committing the offence, saying he used Afrinvest West Africa’s name and logo to lure unsuspecting Nigerians to invest with a 100 per cent return on investment within 45 minutes.
After the accused pleaded guilty to the charge, Magistrate Ibrahim Mohammed stated that since the defendant had confessed to the crime, there was no reason why he should not be convicted.
Balogun was therefore convicted under SEC 179 of Penal code and sentenced to one-year imprisonment without an option on fine.
Pronouncing the sentence, Mohammed stated “You are very talented, you should have used your talent in legal ways to help yourself and your family instead of resorting to crime
“Since he is a first time offender this court will temper justice and sentence him to prison for one year without an option of fine
Recall that in September 2019, Afrinvest wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to report a certain individual by the name Olalekan Balogun for impersonation. They alleged that the man used the name of the company and opened a WhatsApp group to lure investors to invest and get double dividend in 45 minutes.
According to ASP Abubakar Shehu Mandiya of the SEC Police Unit, the culprit opened a WhatsApp group with the name of the company and pretended to be the MD of the company and promised the members if they invest they will get double of what they invested within 45 minutes.
“He operated two different accounts with two different names. The real name of the culprit is Balogun Tanko Damilola and he went ahead to open another online account with Olalekan Balogun in Ecobank. He used the Olalekan Balogun account to receive the fraudulent money” Mandiya said.
When the culprit was interviewed he stated that he is 19 years old and he started the business in June 2019.
“So far I have been able to raise about N30,000.00 in the account from about 15 investors. This is because most of the investors pay in mostly One to Two Thousand Naira only, except for one that invested N10,000.00 only. It is only after discussing with them and gaining their confidence that I now forward my account details for payment.
“What prompted me to start the business was an advert that I saw on face book and I decided to copy. The advert is about investing and getting double payment. I only picked the name Afrinvest because I know that it is an investment company when I saw it on media. I copied and pasted the name and started using for my business” he stated.
However, the convict confessed that he is aware that the act is an illegal activity and that made him to stop in September. Unfortunately, that was the period Afrinvest reported to the SEC and investigation began.
“it’s the work of the devil and I advise people that are into such activity should stop as there is no gain and peace of mind in the business and it will add more problems and you can never escape the law” Balogun added.
Recall that Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk had persistently urged investors to be wary of any investment proposing a return level that is unreasonably high, advising members of the public to always ascertain whether such fund manager and the products being offered were registered with the SEC.
Uduk said that the capital market was properly positioned to provide benefits to Nigerians.
According to her, SEC has been doing a lot in terms of investor education to assist people understand issues surrounding the capital market.
She said, “This is for the all-important purpose of ensuring that the gains of your participation, be these dividends, proceeds from share sales/transfers, etc accrue to you seamlessly without sweat and in the shortest time possible.
“The purpose is also to ensure that you do not fall victim to the antics of fraudsters who purport to be able to double any amount of money you make available to them as investment value.
“These fraudsters or promoters of Ponzi schemes are the false prophets of the investment environment; they are the ill-wind that blows no good and at whose sight you must flee. They are to be avoided.
“This is one message you must keep spreading to family, friends, relations and acquaintances in order to save them from the agony of loss of their hard-earned money. Please note that anyone that subscribes to these illegal activities does so at their own risk.”