Nigerian couple currently on the run for duping thousands of investors to the tune of N22 billion, have acquired citizenship of the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Antigua and Barbuda passports of Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi, and their children surfaced online overnight, hours after reports emerged that they had fled Nigeria after their ponzi scheme Imagine Global Solutions Ltd collapsed, leaving thousands of investors stranded.
The passports also showed that the couple had planned their disappearance months in advance to avoid suspicion amongst investors. Data entries on their passports showed that Mr Ajetunmobi and one of their child procured their passports on the same day, April 29, 2021, while Mrs Ajetunmobi procured her own passport a few days later on May 4, 2021.
Meanwhile, the couples were only detected to have fled Nigeria over the past weekend.
According to correspondent, Antigua and Barbuda has become one of the main Caribbean nations offering passports to fleeing Nigerian fraud suspects.
The countries offer different layers of passports for sale at prices that range from moderate to exorbitant, selling between $38,000 to $261,000 at St Lucia, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, amongst other islands nestled off the scenic Atlantic coast.
Federal crime suspects like former Nigerian minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and another fleeing couple Gloria Osei and Muyiwa Folorunsho had purchased passports in the Caribbean to circumvent judicial consequences of their alleged fraud.
Imagine Global, a micro lending service to small and medium businesses, offered 22 per cent as interest on loans received and 10 per cent returns to investors.
Several victims on social media detailed how they lost between low five figures to as high as N500 million.
Imagine Global, which was registered in 2017, stated on its website that it has a customer base of 90,000 Nigerians, but it was unclear how many of them were able to recoup their investments before the Ajetunmobis disappeared. The couple reportedly fled to London, where a branch of Imagine Global was incorporated in August 2019.
According to reports, the company’s address in Lagos had been locked and telephone numbers for the couple failed to connect on Monday morning.
A spokesman for Zuriel Consulting Limited, Imagine Global’s legal adviser, said the law firm could not comment on investors’ funds and the disappearance of the couple, adding that it neither deny nor confirm claims that the amount squandered was up to N22 billion.