Court Jails Woman Over ₦‎2 Billion Ponzi Scheme Fraud

The Federal High Court, Abuja has jailed the chairman and Managing Director of Famzhi Interbiz Ltd, Mariam Suleiman, for five years for defrauding investors to the tune of N2bn.

A statement from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday said that the conviction was a major boost to the enforcement activities of the commission.

Suleiman was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment without the option of a fine by Justice Inyang Ekwo, who found her and her company guilty of the allegations preferred against them by the Federal Government.

In his judgement, Ekwo said, “Upon the provisions of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 56(6) of the Securities and Investment Act being read to the defendants, for understanding of the terms of punishment therein.

“And upon hearing the allocutus of the learned counsel for the defendants and considering same, I am minded not to impose the full punishment on the 1st defendant (Suleiman) particularly.”

Ekwo sentenced Suleiman to three years imprisonment in count one and two years imprisonment in count two to run concurrently from the date of the order.

He equally ordered the company to be wound up and all its property to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

“The said property shall be sold and the proceeds, thereof, used to compensate the victims of this crime,” he declared.

Earlier in the judgment, Justice Ekwo said it was clear that the first and second defendants conspired among themselves together with their other staff to carry out an illegal act.

“That is, to lure and offer for subscription an unregistered investment collective scheme valued over N2bn to the unsuspecting general public.

“On that note, I find that the offence of conspiracy in count one is proved as required by law and I so hold,” he stated.

Three years ago, the SEC disclaimed the operations of Famzhi Interbiz Limited, warning that neither the entity nor the ‘illegal products’ they offer were registered or regulated by the commission.

The SEC stated that despite not being registered, the company had proceeded to unlawfully solicit funds from the investing public on the product(s) neither registered nor approved by the commission, with the promise of a guaranteed return on investment, in clear violation of the Securities and Investment Act (ISA) 2007.

Consequently, the commission stated that it had referred the company to the appropriate law enforcement agency for criminal investigation and possible prosecution for violation of the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 and other relevant laws in Nigeria.

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