The media became busted again as the Ponzi scheme, Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, popular with the abbreviation MMM, on Friday opened for business after one month of break, as investors in the scheme, have remained stranded as they still cannot access their funds
The scheme announced the resumption along with some conditions on its Twitter handle, saying it was “now open” even though it had initially promised to reopen today, Saturday, January 14.
In the message, the scheme’s founder, Sergey Mavrodi, said because of the likely deluge of requests from participants, payments would be gradual and have limits.
“Please, be prepared to wait for a couple of days. We are certain things will then calm down, and the system operation will return to normal.
“We’re the ones setting limits, so it’s completely under our control, and we are not expecting any emergencies in principle. Have no fear and go on about your business as usual.
“As the system is socially oriented, we will make paybacks to the poor and the economically disadvantaged in the first place; it means to the members with small PH (Provide Help) amounts. The richer can wait. Moreover, we’ve warned you repeatedly to only provide help with amounts that are not critical for you.”
The new developments that has improvised fears and frustrations in investors are the conditions for new payment. MMM had declared that they will start paying with bitcoins. Also it will prioritise payments to participants with small amounts, while those with huge investment will have to be patient.
With about three million Nigerians involved in the scheme and huge investments at stake, the freezing of the MMM’s accounts a month ago had sparked fears that the ponzi scheme had crashed.
Meanwhile, some investors have expressed their frustrations as they might have to wait much longer to recover their much needed money from the scheme.
Some of the participants told Saturday PUNCH that their funds that were tied down in MMM were meant for various uses including purchase of goods, payment of tuition, debts, rent and others need.
For example, Frank Bunna who deals in computer accessories at Olugbede market in Idimu, Lagos, said he was stranded as he had invested all the money for his goods in MMM.
The Igbo trader, who was looking dejected when our correspondent visited the market, said his future was dashed as he expressed disappointment that he would not be able to get his money back today (Saturday).
He said, “This is my life! How will I live? I invested N2m! Look at my shop, it is totally empty. I invested the whole money for my business on this MMM; I even borrowed N300, 000 that I added to it. I spent six days in the hospital as soon as I heard the account was frozen. I am hypertensive so my blood pressure shot up when I heard the news. To hear that I would not be paid immediately means that I am dead.”
Another Lagos resident simply identified as Korede, who invested over N500, 000 in the scheme, said, “There is going to be crisis in my home. I borrowed my wife’s N300, 000 to invest in the scheme. I didn’t tell her, but I guess she’s suspicious now.
“I promised to return the money December ending, but couldn’t. That was when MMM froze our accounts. It appears that there is going to be some delay before I can get the money. I just hope my wife will forgive me in case this thing fails. To be sincere, I am afraid.”
An undergraduate of the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, who identified himself as Chiboy because he did not want his parents to know he invested his tuition and money meant for his dissertation in MMM, said he had been left stranded since December 2016, when MMM was suspended and desperately needed his money back.