By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—The Zone 6 Police Headquarters, Calabar, Cross River State capital, was turned into a mini-carnival yesterday, as “investors” in a Swiss Gold Ponzi scheme turned out to get a glimpse of the scheme operator, Mrs. Lizzy Efa, arrested while trying to flee from the country, after raking in about a billion naira.
Vanguard learned that Mrs. Efa was taken to Calabar after her arrest at the border between Nigeria and Cameroon in Bakassi.
The investors were demanding that the matter be transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to avoid bias, because they believe that she has been arrested before and nothing was done.
One of the investors, a petroleum dealer, Mr. Justus Austin, disclosed that he has lost N11.6m to the scheme.
He called on EFCC to take over the matter from the police, adding that the lady was set free by the police after she was first arrested two months ago.
“People have invested so much money in the name of Swiss Gold; she is a breakaway from another group. She was initially arrested but the police released her with a promise that she was going to pay after three months.
“They tracked one of the major investors to the Government House on Tuesday with huge funds. She was of one those acting as intermediary to collect money from investors and it was through her that Efa was tracked.
“Meanwhile, we had lodged our petition with the EFCC, over the huge funds we paid into the scheme. My wife and I, for instance mopped about N11.5m from our small businesses and lumped into the scheme.
“The whole of Zone Six Police Command was crowded when they arrested her. The police should hand over the matter to EFCC; otherwise the matter will be spoilt. She raked in over N1bn within three months,” he said.
Another investor, Mr. Clement Icha, said they were tired of the way the matter was earlier handled by the police and would want the EFCC to handle the matter this time for speedy recovery of their capital, which many of them sold property to raise.
“Many of us borrowed to invest while some sold their property to put in money in scheme; we are not even asking for the profit anymore, she should just return the capital. I am paying the bank N2 million every month to service the loan I got to invest in the scheme, “he lamented.
When contacted, Zonal Police Public Relations Officer, Nelson Ukpabi, confirmed the incident, adding that Mrs. Efa was in their custody and investigation was on going.
His words: ”I saw a mammoth crowd yesterday evening and I inquired what was going on. I was told a lady involved in Swiss Gold Ponzi scheme was just arrested and the people, who she did business with were trying to see her.
“She will be charged to court as soon as possible, but investigations are ongoing.”