Sunday, December 5, 2021

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Uncertainty for investors as Imagine Lenders owners get Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship

Antiguan authorities have granted a couple citizenship after ‘intense examination’, and this may be bad news for Nigerian investors who bought into their scheme.

Antiguan authorities have confirmed the Nigerian couples who are wanted for a multibillion Naira investment scam as citizens of the country, as per Gatekeepers News.

A couple manages the company named Imagine Lenders- Bamise Samson Ajetunmobi and his wife, Elizabeth, declared wanted for fraud.

Bamise Samson Ajetunmobi was a relatively unknown staff of a top Nigerian bank where he worked for almost a decade before starting his Imagine Lenders firm around 2016 – a platform that offers a 10 % monthly return on investment.

After their application for citizenship, a member of the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda informed his fellow lawmakers about the Nigerian couple wanted by the Nigerian authorities for fraud.

The lawmaker stated that he’d put systems in place to ensure the arrest of the couple.

“I just saw an article about a Nigerian and his wife obtaining Antigua and Barbuda passports/citizenship under the CIP programme, and they are now wanted for defrauding Nigerians,” he said.

“So, I’ve already put certain systems in place to ensure that if he’s [they’re] not here yet, that they [security operatives] could capture him [and his wife] on his [their] way here because Antigua and Barbuda won’t be a refuge for scams.”

He noted that the government’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, which requires a person to make a significant economic contribution to the country to be granted citizenship, was put in place to attract investments, not a refuge for crooks.

The lawmaker added that the country’s government will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that those who betray its trust will be returned to “when they came.”

The Lagos high court had barred banks from releasing about N11.795 billion to the couple after 15 persons sued them and their company for alleged investment fraud.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Unit said in a statement that “Both Bamise Ajetunmobi and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi were granted citizenship in April 2021 having applied under the Citizenship by Investment Programme.”

CIU added that they were granted the citizenship of the island nation in April after an “intense internal examination”.

CIU said a “leading global due diligence firm” it ostensibly hired to carry out a background check on the couple did not find anything disparaging about them and Imagine Global when they were given citizenship.

“No Interpol Red Notice had been issued for either Mr Bamise Ajetunmobi or Elizabeth Ajetunmobi. As such, at the issuance of citizenship, there was no adverse media, criminal or civil litigation, neither were there regulatory concerns associated with the applicants and their businesses,” the CIU said.

The unit said it has, however, taken note of the reports about Bamise Ajetunmobi and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi and their alleged crimes and is “awaiting the issuance of an official statement by the authorities in Nigeria.”

For now though, the couple are in the clear and the funds up in the air.

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