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Mmm: A.k.a. Many Miseries Multiplied

By Emeka Anumbor

THE MEANING OF MMM - In truth, MMM is a Ponzi scheme. Wikipedia defines a Ponzi scheme as “a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profits earned through legitimate sources.” Ponzi scheme promises high rates of return with little risk to investors. MMM is at best, a form of gambling, which the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines as “the activity of playing games of chance for money.” In the dictionary of Nigerians, schemes like MMM are called “wonder banks.” In normal English, you may term them intruders into the genteel world of banking!

More correctly, MMM is like Wicca, a “modern form of witchcraft practiced as a religion,” according to Oxford Dictionary. It got started in Russia where dangerous, savvy hackers who broke into the data bases of western financial institutions, began to divest their illegal gains. That was after the old Soviet Union collapsed. With great elan, the nimble, street wise operators criminally promised Russians uneducated about the principles of free market forces annual returns of up to 1000%! First given a tacit nod of approval by the KGB oriented government of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian state began to muscle the conmen when the macro-economic policies of its Central Bank were disoriented by the slush funds of MMM.

MMM IS A PONZI SCHEME - One of the globe’s biggest Ponzi portfolios, an estimated 5 to 40 million innocent souls lost about US$10 billion when the get-rich-quick scheme went under and the operators left Russia in their customized private jets and Mercedes Benz wonder wheels. The hot brains behind the scam moved huge part of their evil holdings overseas, laundering them as “investment opportunities with high yielding profit margins.” MMM is a subterfuge that snares wealth seeking souls into “sorrow, tears and blood,” apologies to Abami eda Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It is dishonest gain, greed for money and covetousness. It’s a mark of ungodly profiting and a pyramid of deceit. Fraudulent initiatives like MMM enriches the promoters only, ultimately.

Nigeria is not new to Ponzi schemes. In the 1980s, Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital had one well-advertised Ponzi contraption called Forum Finance. Operating from the strategic Allen Avenue Junction at Ikeja, it initially paid fabulous returns to the first batch of investors before it closed shop, quaking many hearts in its aftermath. Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and Nigeria’s Garden City had an equivalent fraud run by one Mr. Umana. After holding the city and environs hostage with promises of huge returns which as usual it only delivered initially, latter investors met closed offices and an absent Mr. Umana when they went to collect their returns.

The police later arrested Umana and promised to bring him before a court of law, but that promised has since entered into voice mail! In the late 1980s, Benin City, the capital of Edo State and environs were inundated by the lofty antics and huge returns of a Ponzi scheme called Plan Well. A maternal uncle of mine lured into the fraud by the hefty returns given to the first investors, knew very late that he had been duped. As I write, nothing has been heard from Plan Well about my uncle’s hard earned money. Just late 2015, another Ponzi operation in Enugu, the Coal City capital of Enugu State went under, and depositors funds estimated at $4 billion simply vanished with the rogues!

A trip-off or slow-down in an economy can take the table from a Ponzi scheme. In 2008, the USA suffered recession and the Madoff investment scheme {a Ponzi game} left many operators with begging bowels. Estimates have it that over $22 billion leaked from the soft hands of the innocent investors into the well-heeled pockets of Mr Madoff and his associates in evil. Though he was jailed for this madness, investors cried themselves well into the night!

ITS FEATURES - Ponzi schemes like MMM are known for three attitudes viz:

1. They commence operations without proper foundation and legal approval. In other words, wonder banks are never licensed. You never hear of the annual general meeting of a wonder bank. Of old, banking is about trust, sincerity, integrity and financial discipline. Wonder banking is simply magic!

2. At the peak period of investible funds collected from gullible investors, the promoters will always disappear into thin air, pocketing the remaining investment funds.

3. Once an economy slows down, the fraudulent park of cards known as a Ponzi scheme collapses because the promised returns cannot be sustained. Studies show that the higher the promised returns of a Ponzi contraption, the greater the risk.

NIGERIANS, BE WARNED ABOUT MMM - Nigerians must heed the warnings of the federal government though the Buhari administration is in the woods on how to take Nigeria out of recession. They must adhere to the warnings of the National Assembly though it’s a predatory, shambolic and selfish gathering of greedy men and women. Hopeless and hapless the Central Bank of Nigeria may be, its mandate empowers it to warn Nigerians on Ponzi schemes like MMM, though it may not have gotten it right as regards monetary policies. The primary duty of the Nigerian government is the protection of lives and property. That’s why it is fighting Boko Haram, the Niger Delta Avengers in Operation Python Dance, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, armed robbers and Internet fraudsters. Though the tree of good and evil was in the Garden of Eden, it didn’t lessen its lethality and toxicity unto death – GEN. 2:8-17; 3:1-19.

Christians who are enjoined to flee from all appearances of evil should stay away from MMM – I TESS. 5:22. You shouldn’t go hell for the sins of others! MMM is far from transparency and honesty. In truth, it means MANY MISERIES MULTIPLIED! Poverty is temporary, and it doesn’t scare the soul like harmful pleasures that men’s hearts are filled with - PSA. 34:14. A child of God can get rich by spiritual conviction – 2 COR 8:9. Scripture decree woes upon those who call evil good – ISA. 5:20. Don’t be hell-bound Sooner than later. If you are in it, pray for deliverance from the evil one – MT. 6:13. The end time is a blessed time for believers, but a sad end for MMM marketers and investors. MMM will be in the same library self with busted Ponzi schemes like Forum Finance, Plan Well, Umana and the recently dusted one in Enugu. Now, you can take the above counsel about MMM to the bank!

Pastor, historian and writer, Joseph Emeka Anumbor is the author of The Intercourse of Troubled Thoughts,a critically acclaimed discourse on homosexuality, published by AuthorHouse Inc, Indiana, USA.

U are great my man,GOD WILL ABIDE WITH U
By: Sola