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N7b wonder bank scheme flop: EFCC freezes 16 accounts, detains mastermind

…It’s civil business flop, not criminal matter- suspect

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

The flop of a promising multi-million scheme, which was to deliver between 135 and 200 percent interest to investors, has forced the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to freeze 16 bank accounts associated with the scheme.

EFCC
The Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu

Similarly, the operator of the scheme and his company are now under investigation by the EFCC, which had already taken them in for interrogation over the project that has reportedly led to the loss of over N7 billion by no fewer than 27,440 unsuspecting Nigerians.

While the probe is going on, no fewer than 22 property spread in various parts of the country, have been traced to the key suspect, whose name was given by the EFCC as Babagana Dalori, while the business name was given as Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Limited.

The anti-graft agency is investigating to establish whether indeed, the suspect used his business outlet as a means of extorting the huge sum of money, which he made Nigerians to invest with a promise of huge return on their investments.

Already, the operatives have confirmed they are probing the man to establish whether he had committed a criminal breach of trust and obtaining money under false pretence, serious offences punishable under the EFCC ACT and other laws of the country.

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An interim report turned in by investigators said: “At the moment, he has used the investors’ money to incorporate different entities without getting their consent. He now has Galaxy Global Energy Concept Ltd, Galaxy Miners Concept Ltd, Galaxy Global Farms, Galaxy Computers, Galaxy Block Making Factory, Galaxy Hospital and Galaxy Hotel.”

“Contrary to the claim of Galaxy spokesman that the matter was civil and not criminal, the business of deposit-taking under Nigerian legislation can only be undertaken by a licensed deposit- taking financial institution as enshrined in Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), CBN Act and the NDIC.

EFCC investigators also discovered that Dalori initially paid 200 per cent interest on the investors deposits with the firm and later reduced the interest to 135 per cent before the scheme later crashed in 2018.

Dalori further engaged in rigorous advertisements in the radio and television stations including a movie by the Nollywood to convince the investors.

According to the EFCC investigators, “Due to the trust reposed on him; investors keep on investing in his Galaxy scheme. He used flyers, advertisements in the television and radio stations in order to convince the investors.

“He even went to the extent of organizing Nollywood to act a movie for him over the scheme. He specifically organized some actors and actresses in Kannywood to act in a movie called “Zero Hour” to show the need for people to invest in Galaxy.

“Unfortunately, his gimmicks paid off as different people took their hard earned savings, inheritance, pensions and other source of income and invested in Galaxy.

“Now, the scheme has crashed and investors can no longer get their money.

The report further said: “Investigation into this case is still at preliminary stage as the team is intensifying efforts to trace all assets that belong to the 1st suspect and 2nd suspect. So far, Twenty 22 property have been traced to the suspects including Six Filing Stations and Five Quarries across different states.

“Also, responses from Banks and CAC are being awaited. Preliminary investigation has so far revealed the possibility of the suspects to have diverted the funds of various investors to other business rather than the businesses they invested in. At the end of the investigation, we may have a case of Criminal Breach of Trust and Obtaining Money under False Pretence,” the report said.

However, Dalori has vehemently denied committing any crime, saying the business deal he had with other Nigerians were genuine and doing well before it ran into murky waters.

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According to him, the ongoing mater was a civil matter and not criminal as insinuated, adding that his arrest and detention was not as a result of any fraud.

Speaking through one of his officials, Mr. Cletus Onoja, Dalori said the company was merely taken for investigation by the EFCC following a petition by the company clients.

Onoja explained that what was at stake was that the company could no longer meet its obligations to its clients within the time expected of it for reasons beyond its control.

He said, “As such, some investors who were not satisfied with our explanation and efforts currently put at recovering the loss petitioned the EFCC even though the matter was civil and not criminal.

“As an obedient citizen of the country, the MD/CEO turned in and gave himself to the Commission’s interrogations,’’

According to Onoja, since commencement in 2010, the company has never defaulted in its obligations to remit what is due to each of its investors.

“It is on record that even when the country was in recession in 2016 and 2017, our company did not fail to meet its obligations to pay its clients and business partners,” the official said.

He said the company runs a legitimate transportation and construction services business in over five states in the country with its headquarters in Abuja for the last nine years.

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