As far as prosecution of ponzi operators go few have had the impact compared to the likes of Madoff. However it comes as no surprise as the house of representatives from Nigeria had ordered the incarceration of individuals involved in the promotion of the MMM ponzi and its elusive team.
The MMM ponzi became particularly troublesome for the Nigerian government due to the sheer scale of it. Luring in a population with lucrative rates of return believed to be around 30% on a monthly basis, many believed they were simply handing over capital to an investor. However all were duped into a ponzi scheme unregulated by the CBN essentially leaving the investor vulnerable to loss.
“Any Nigerian, who is participating in the MMM scheme, which is not regulated by law, is vulnerable to losing his/her investment, as there is no identifiable platform to guarantee the security of such, given the declaration by the CBN that the scheme is fraudulent,” Fijabi told the House
While the lawmakers have acknowledged that the timing of the scheme was ideal in exploiting the vulnerable nature many believe that the initial rate of return should have provided warning signs for many. With the devaluation of the Naira particularly bad in parallel markets and restriction of the oil industry, many were left with few options to invest. Avenues closed and many did turn to the MMM in a bid for profit.
To conclude, the Economic and financial crimes commission in conjunction with the central Nigerian bank aim to shut the MMM operations essentially “saving” the Nigerians from financial loss. Whilst the operation seems to have Russian origins it has operated on a global scale currently big in Nigerian and India. It is hoped the operation can be essentially shut down and those behind it, in terms of promoting and running it are bought before justice.