Despite several calls by the National Assembly for the the arrest of promoters of the online pyramid scheme, Mavrodi Mondial Movement MMM, cyber risk and technology expert, Tope Aladenusi has said the inability to trace the movement of funds in the bank accounts will make it impossible to identify the promoters of the scheme or recover the funds.
Aladenusi, a business technology assurance expert and Partner in Akintola Williams Deloitte Nigeria who heads the cyber risk services desk of the company noted that when the eventuality of the MMM scheme dawn, it will be almost impossible to trace and recover the funds.
Speaking recently at a Nigeria electronic fraud forum dinner in Lagos, Aladenusi described MMM as a distruptive technology that is used to deceive people. According to him, the scheme uses technology to move money around in a way that cannot be tracked.
“What happens is that when you sign up for it, you become part of it. When you say you want to help and you are coming in with N1 million, they will assign you to pay three or more people. You then pay money into somebody’s account to give help and having paid money into those accounts you then wait. At the end of your one month expiration, and your money has appreciated by 30 percent you will click on ‘I need help’ and when you need help, other people will now be told to pay money into your account.
“Now what happen is that when you want to deposit the money they will instruct you not to write MMM in the deposit slip. And when you scan the deposit slip in the system so as to notify them that you have paid the money into another persons, account then they can now say you are accredited to go on to pay another one.”
Last month, MMM had placed one month ban on withdrawals having increased the returns to 50 per cent from 30 per cent, citing “heavy workload on system” and negative media reports. This means that members of the scheme who are due to withdraw both their capital and 30 per cent return on investment will no longer be able to do so until sometime in January 2017.
Despite several warning by regulators in the financial sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation to Nigerian to desist from patronizing the online Ponzi scheme, MMM had caught like wild fire spreading from amongst corporate individuals to the the informal sector.
NDIC managing director and chief executive, Umaru Ibrahim and had cautioned Nigerians on falling victims of wonder banks and pyramid schemes, noting that despite the caveat given many Nigerians had fallen victim.
Noting that no fixed address has been traded to the scheme, he said the virtual and anonymous operating style of MMM makes tracking the accounts involve very challenging, even as he warned that other forms of MMM had evolved in recent times.
MMM which has over three million subscribers has also been introduced in Kenya having crashed in Russia, Zimbabwe, China, India and South Africa. The online pyramid scheme which operates by asking subscribers to give help and receive it back with 30 per cent interest has since suspended activities on its website creating panic for its numerous members.