The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne has ordered the arrest of Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi, the couple who fled Nigeria after duping investors of over N22 billion.
“I have already put systems in place to ensure that if he is not here yet, they could capture him on his way here because Antigua and Barbuda is not going to be a refuge for scamps,” Mr Browne said.
Mr Browne, who made his comments while in Parliament on Wednesday, said that though it is unverified if the couple are currently in the country, they will be apprehended upon entry.
The Ajetunmobis had obtained citizenship of the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
The passports of the couple and their minor children surfaced online overnight, hours after reports emerged that they had fled Nigeria, leaving its customer base of 90,000 investors stranded.
Mr Browne said that he heard that the Ajetunmobis “obtained Antiguan and Barbudan passports, citizenship under the CIP programme and now that person is now wanted for defrauding a number of Nigerians.”
Mr Browne added that the Citizenship by Investment Programme, used by the Ajetunmobis, is not meant to attract shady characters and his government will ensure repatriation of wanted individuals hiding in the country.
Initial reports noted that the couple planned their disappearance months in advance to avoid the suspicion of investors. Data entries on their passports showed that the husband and one of their minor children procured their passports on April 29, 2021, while Mrs Ajetunmobi procured hers on May 4, 2021.
The Ajetunmobis led a micro lending business called Imagine Global, offering 22 per cent interest on loans and 10 percent returns to investors. The news of the fraudulent scheme broke when multiple victims took to social media, revealing the amounts invested.
A WhatsApp group as well as a Nairaland forum had been created for those affected by the fraudulent scheme to pool resources towards recovering their investments.
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 can neither deny nor confirm claims that the amount stolen was up to N22 billion.