Crime Guard

February 3, 2024

How Chinese company fleeces Nigerians

Akwa Ibom: Murder of policeman,others signal renewed terror

By Emma Nnadozie,  Crime Editor

A Digital Money lending company operated by two Chinese nationalities in Lagos, Nigeria, Lucky Finance, has being accused of engaging in illegal activities and fleecing unsuspecting Nigerians of huge sums of money.

They have also been accused of allegedly smearing desperate Nigerians that defaulted in paying loans granted them all in a bid to recover their money.

Some of the victims including their former staff and loan defaulters intimated Vanguard that the company located at Ojodu Berger area of Lagos state with two Chinese managers gives out short loans repayable within seven days. According to the victims, they buy numbers and send bulk SMS to randomly selected telephone numbers and send links to the owners soliciting that they apply for loans.

“They also stated clearly that beneficiaries must repay the loan within seven days and that whoever fails to repay within the specified period will be defamed on social media.  The company operates with about 35 Nigerian staff that are paid N60, 000 monthly while their team leaders earn N80, 000 every month. Their female staff are posted more in the customer service section while the male ones with some females work in the audit department.”

How they operate

It was gathered that their operational strategies start after calling the randomly picked telephone numbers and sending links to those willing to apply.  The victims said that as soon as those that showed interest click the link, it will direct them to their app, apk, as they don’t have standard application. They will then fill in their information such as BVN, bank details, emergency contact etc and the app detects the contact list and SMS of the customer phone.

Repayment method

Investigation revealed that after the 7-day repayment grace, their customers are expected to repair the loan and each customer has his or her own account details from the company app payable to the company’s bank account. However, defaulters are hastily made to suffer the worst humiliation and embarrassment by splashing their photographs through a public notice in the social media where an alert will be raised notifying the general public that the defaulter is either a rapist, fraudster, ritualist, HIV carrier or worse still, stating that, if she is a lady, she slept with dogs and contacted a deadly virus and if seen, he or she should be reported. Pictures of dogs are scanned and posted with that of their female defaulters. 

Abuse of Nigerian workers

It was further learned that the company has been in this business for years and also collaborates with a Lotto company.  One of their former staff who claimed he left them after spending six months because of the ill-treatment meted on their staff told Crime Guard, “They use and abuse Nigerian staff recklessly. They tell their employers that the time for duty starts at 8.30 am and ends 5.30pm daily. However, the reverse is the case. In their bid to extort more money from Nigerians, we are forced to work till 9pm or more daily without other incentives. We are made to work from Mondays to Sundays, no day off.”

Doubts over registration of company

Further investigations showed that the company may not have being duly registered with the appropriate regulatory company hence the victims alleged that they hide the location of their company from members of the public especially their customers.  According to the victims, they cannot reveal how they registered the over 50 SIM cards they use for transaction daily, who regulates their loan interests, how they get their SIM cards. Worse still, we suspect that they must be paying security agents heavily because their activities are so much shrouded in secrecy and we are wondering why security agents have not beamed their searchlight on them,” they stated.  

Police escorts flog workers

It was also alleged that the Chinese managers always order mobile policemen attached to them to flog any erring Nigerian staff publicly after which the person will be thrown out of their gate without any compensation. “What they do in Nigeria is horrible. We found out that they established similar company in Nigeria five years ago and had similar problem because of the illegal things they did and they were forced to flee the country after their atrocities blew open. However, after some years, they surreptitiously sneaked back into the country through a neighboring country and continued with their illegal deals without checks.

Control other 

conglomerates

These Chinese, according to investigations, control many other big companies but specialize in using their Nigerian companies to extort and exploit the citizens heavily. A discreet check into their registration documents showed that they were registered by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, in Abuja which claims to be the regulatory authority responsible for, among other things, the administration and enforcement of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018.

Two Nigerian names were used to register the company with their addresses and phone numbers. The company stated also both their local and dollar accounts details, interest rates and annual percentage rate. Information showed these are contrary to what they practice. Furthermore, they stated clearly that they will not have access to customer’s call logs, contacts and gallery and this is contrary to what the company has been doing to their customers.

When our reporter contacted the company, they insisted that questions should be sent to them but after questions were forwarded through the WhatsApp number of their Managers, Jimmy and Ulla, they sent a Nigerian Lawyer and a female staff to meet and discuss with our reporter.

Confirmation deadlocked

The meeting which held twice ended in a deadlock as their representatives failed to submit answers to the questions earlier sent to them. Rather, they were verbally defending their clients and continued to lobby for the reporter to disclose his source of information without success.

When Crime Guard called the Head, Communications of FCCPC in Abuja, Dominic Nyang, one of his aides stated: “You may need to put it in writing for proper guidance. Write to the Registrar-General.”

However, when immigration office in Lagos was contacted, one of their staff who refused to disclose his name said: “These people come into the country with names different from what they bear. You always see another name in their passport quite different from the name they bear. So, it is always very difficult to track and locate them but what we do is that, if we get bad information like yours, we get details and swoop on them.”

A source at the Lagos state police command who pleaded anonymity also said they will soon carry out investigations into their activities in the state.