Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has explicitly stated the fugitive Nigerian couple accused of being behind a Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of their customers out of around $53 million will be captured if they ever step foot in the Caribbean nation.
Browne made those comments in response to reports wanted couple Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi had secured citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda through the Caribbean nation’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), Antigua Observer reported.
The Prime Minister said he had heard Bamise and “his wife obtained Antiguan and Barbudan passports” under the CIP program and “now that person is now wanted for defrauding a number of Nigerians.”
“I have already put systems in place to ensure that if he is not here as yet that they could capture him on his way here because Antigua and Barbuda is not gonna be a refuge for scamps,” he added.
Browne also reportedly stressed the Caribbean nation’s Citizenship by Investment Program wasn’t introduced to serve as a “safe haven for crooks.” “Our CIP program is designed to attract and to incentivize investments,” he clarified.
“This government will continue to do all in its power to ensure that those who violate and they seek refuge here that eventually they are repatriated from whence they came. It’s just a matter of time. Some of them may get temporary refuge here but we have no doubt that ultimately, they will be repatriated,” Browne said.
The Nigerian couple are said to have fled their home country after they failed to account for $53.5 million customers had invested in their company, Global Solutions Ltd, according to Business Insider. Disgruntled customers have since taken to social media to air out their frustrations.
The wanted couple reportedly publicized their company as a micro-lending platform that offered loans to small and medium enterprises at an interest rate of 22%. The company also enticed interested investors with 10% returns on their investments.
The collapsed company’s Lagos office has since been closed. The Antiguan and Barbudan passports the couple obtained reportedly revealed their disappearance was premeditated as they did not want to raise any eyebrows, per Antigua Observer.
Details on their passports reportedly showed Bamise and one of their children obtained their passports on April 29, 2021. Elizabeth, on the other hand, secured hers on May 4, 2021.
The company’s legal representatives have since declined to comment on the controversy and the couple’s alleged disappearance, Business Insider reported.