Following its establishment in May 2020, Voltac Global Capital (VGC), a finance and asset management company owned by businessman Dapo Abiola, kicked off operations with packages and offers that were eagerly embraced by investors.
The company promised a monthly ROI of 20 percent on all investments and kept its word, promptly making agreed payments to its customers for the first nine months after its creation. But things would crumble soon.
A VICTIM’S TALE
Baliqees, an undergraduate student at the University of Ibadan, was initiated into VGC’s investment by a colleague who doubled as the company’s business representative in September 2020.
“When he announced the company’s offer to me, he said the return on investment would be 20 percent and it would be paid monthly,” she said.
“As a final year student who needed all the financial support I could get back then, I decided to invest N100,000. After a month, I got a return of N120,000, which means that the 20 percent promised was actually paid.”
Impressed by their first deal, Baliqees reinvested both capital and profit. She added money as well.
“By December 2020, I had raised my equity to N500,000, and when I added it to the ROI that the investment had generated, my money had become N600,000. In January 2021, I decided to add N200,000, which meant that I would have a total investment of N800,000,” explained Baliqees.
She told FIJ that agents who acted as account officers for VGC were also assigned to each investor, and they would regularly visit to give a breakdown of how investments were fairing.
“During this period, the total sum I was supposed to have with VGC was N960,000. Unfortunately, it was then that they stopped paying their investors, finding all sorts of excuses and stories all the time,” Baliqees lamented.
VGC IN CRISIS
On March 5, VGC sent a memo to investors, informing them that it would start paying ROIs in April, citing CBN regulations, which included an audit and compliance exercise, as reasons.
Three days later, Abiola, the company’s CEO appeared in a video, apologising to investors for any inconveniences caused by an ongoing audit, assuring them that the company was in a good shape.
His words: “VGC still stands, we are not going anywhere.”
He also told the investors to stay calm, and that their money was safe.
However, on March 31, the company released another memo. In it, it claimed that the federal government’s ban on crypto-currency affected the majority of its funds in February and that the ban led to panic withdrawal by investors.
VGC declared that, while trying to make up for the panic withdrawals being experienced, Joshua Kayode, the founder of Quintessential Investment Company, who had traded with a major share of the VGC’s investment, had failed to remit the required amount of $4 million.
It also stated that Kayode’s activities had forced the VGC to invite the EFCC to conduct an appropriate investigation. In the same memo, the company said some investors had obtained a court order to freeze the company’s account, and that the action had prevented the company from carrying out any transaction.
For the first time, the company disclosed that it had recorded a huge financial loss.
ANOTHER VICTIM’S TALE
Aminat, another affected investor and student, said she only got N36,000 from VGC after investing N360,000.
“My last investment with the company was N360,000, and when the crisis started in June, the company said it would start paying 10 percent of the total money owed every investor. Those with capital in excess of one million naira were to be paid seven and a half percent,’ she said.
“That’s how I received N36,000 of the total amount due. I had also invited a cousin who invested N200,000. During this period, he was paid N20,000. But since then, nothing concrete has been heard from them. At one point, we learned that their accounts had been frozen because of a court order.
“We just don’t know what else to do right now. We are in a very difficult economic situation and we need our funds to meet our pressing needs,” he said.
“I do not have the exact figure, but I am sure hundreds of investors are currently affected by this, and several million naira is involved. The most annoying part was that the company knew all along that it was in crisis, but the owner kept giving false assurances.”
A SINKING COMPANY
Following the March 31 memo, Abiola released three more videos and continued to assure investors that the crisis would soon be over and things would return to normal. VGC also continued to email its clients, explaining the steps taken to ensure they received their money.
In a July 7 memo, VGC described itself as a victim of Kayode’s payment default, pleading that any investor willing to assist in the recovery of its funds with the trader should come forward.
In its last memo released on September 2, the company stated that Kayode had been charged to court and that the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Alagbon, was handling the matter.
More importantly, the company stated that it had exhausted all means of making additional payments to affected investors because it currently lacked any form of financial capacity. It also revealed that it would lay off a portion of its staff due to the financial crisis.
“Since September 2, we have had no news from the company,” said Baliqees. “It might mean our money is gone. They had promised in the past that we might get our capital back. But right now, that’s not even sure anymore.”
FIJ learned that Kayode had secured the sum of N1.8 billion from the VGC, promising to return enough money for the business to keep its promise of 20 percent ROI.
Kayode has a history of fraud. FIJ learnt that he once posed as an investment expert to defraud 170 persons of N10.7 billion.
A customer service representative at VGC’s Gbagada office told FIJ the company is currently taking a number of steps to make sure investors are paid.
“As you know, the company is into real estate, automobiles, and other businesses. Soon all of these challenges will be over,” she said.
“There is absolutely no cause for alarm. Investors’ ROI, however, is not promised. They can only get their capital back. What I will not be able to tell you is when exactly the payments will be made.”
However, she declined to release Abiola’s telephone number.