The Zone Six Police Command with headquarters in Calabar, Cross River State, has arrested a fleeing operator of Swizz Gold Ponzi Scheme, Lizzy Efah, over alleged fraud.
She was alleged to have collected over N1bn from unsuspecting ‘investors’ with the promise to pay back the capital with interest of between 50 and 80 per cent in 40 days.
Southern City News learnt that Efah, who operated her Ponzi scheme named Golden Achievers, was arrested in one of the border communities in Ikang, Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State by operatives of the command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad while attempting to escape to Cameroon.
She had been under serious pressure to pay back investors’ funds after it became clear that she could not meet up with the payment agreement.
Her arrest caused stir on Wednesday and Thursday as several victims who had invested millions of naira in the scheme thronged the command’s headquarters, possibly in a bid to urge the police to compel her to pay back their capital.
The Zone Six Public Relations Officer, Nelson Ukpabi, confirmed the arrest of Efah, disclosing that she was being investigated and would be charged to court as soon as investigations were completed.
He said, “I saw a mammoth crowd at the command and I inquired what was going on. I was told a lady involved in Swiss Gold Ponzi Scheme had just been arrested and the people who she did business with were trying to see her. She will be charged to court as soon as possible, but investigations are ongoing.”
But an aggrieved investor, Mercy Salako, demanded that the matter be transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for proper investigation and prosecution.
“We are demanding that the matter be transferred to the EFCC to avoid bias. She was arrested before and was released. We are of the view that there was compromise, that was why she was released. We do not have confidence in the police handling this matter. I invested N8m in the scheme,” she said.
Another investor, a petroleum dealer, Mr Justus Austin, lamented that he had lost N11.6m to the scheme.
Austin also called on the EFCC to take over the matter from the police, saying that the lady was set free by the police after she was first arrested two months ago.
“People have invested so much money in the name of Swiss Gold; she is a breakaway from another group. She was initially arrested but the police released her with a promise that she was going to pay after three months.
“They tracked one of the major investors in the Government House on Tuesday with huge funds. She was of one those acting as intermediary to collect money from investors and depositing to the scheme. Huge money was found in her possession and that was how they were able to track Efah.
“Meanwhile, we had lodged our petition at the EFCC, over the huge funds we paid into the scheme. My wife and I, for instance, mopped about N11.6m from our small businesses and lumped into the scheme. She raked over N1bn within three months,” he said.