Date: 18 January 2017 14:40
Operators of Mavrodi Moneybox Mundial (MMM) Nigeria have set a temporary fund withdrawal limit for its participants as the level of investment in the alleged Ponzi scheme dipped since its return from a one-month hiatus on January 13.
“Yes, there is a withdrawal limit for participants,” said an MMM guider who pleaded anonymity. “As of today, the limit is N31, 000. But that is subject to upward or downward review depending on the level of people who provide help (invest in the fund).”
Participants with the smallest funds would be given priority of withdrawing their funds, administrators of MMM Nigeria said when it resumed on January 13 without stating what constitute ‘small’ fund.
But in spite of the uncertainty and dire media coverage of the activities of its operators, some participants still believe investing in the scheme was the right thing for them to do, hinging their reasons on the crippling recession and on the government’s inability to provide an enabling environment for job creation.
“The context of Nigeria’s economy cannot be separated from the scheme. It is not just that Nigeria’s economy is in a recession. The larger problem is a sense of hopelessness,” said Feyi Fawehinmi, a United Kingdom-based accountant.
“The middle class are escaping to Canada while poor Nigerians are crossing to Europe via Libya by the thousands practically every day. This is all the fertiliser that MMM needs to germinate and flourish in Nigeria and it is.”
A participant, Funmi Alabi, hoped the withdrawal limit would help restore participants’ confidence in the scheme and spur more inflow of funds.
“I’m a bit scared that I can’t get help (withdraw fund) the way I would have loved. But if the limit they set will ensure sanity in MMM community, I am okay with it. Hopefully, I can get my funds.”
Participants were prevented from withdrawing their funds from the scheme earlier in the week, but a person with knowledge of how the community works said participants were to be blamed for that.
“We know what is wrong,” Tobi Balogun said. “People wanted to play smart with the system, so GH (Get Help, which stands for withdrawal of fund) was hidden.
“Mavros [funds] grows every Tuesday and Thursday. Some participants would cancel mavros that they have already been allocated by Monday night so they can get more out of the system. That’s playing game on the system, and I believe that’s why the hidden GHed was implemented.”
These underhand tactics, Balogun confirmed, has created more panic in the system than ‘the media hysteria’ the operators of the scheme usually allude to.
Regardless of the fleeting gains participants derived from the Ponzi scheme, critics said the scheme does not present a way out of recession since it was not founded on any sound economic or investment principle.