In December 2020, Olaide Faturoti, a sales associate, was convinced to invest in FarmKonnect, a crowdfunding platform. Usually, Faturoti would not concur with such, but he succumbed when he looked up the company online and found interesting things about the platform. What could be more assuring than a governor commissioning a project?
Fast forward to 2022, Faturoti’s investment on two projects, the NFT project worth N800,000 (matured in October 2021) and the Onion project worth N1.5 million (matured in December 2021), which were supposed to yield 45% and 80% profits respectively, are yet to be settled as of today.
“I received 5% ROI in May, June and July, then they stopped. I received another 5% ROI in November, and that was the last time I received anything from them.
“Up till now, they have not been able to pay back my capital and there is no date in sight for that. I have written them that I am no longer interested in the promised returns but they should just refund my capital,” he told Nairametrics.
What is more heartbreaking to him is that he had planned to use the money for an important acquisition after he was to have collected the money last year.
Like Faturoti, Hope Adebayo, a hairstylist, also entrusted her N125,000 with FarmKonnect for five slots of potatoes with a promise to get back her capital with 50% ROI. Unfortunately, she was only able to get N25,000 out of the N187,000 expected payment before the company stopped paying; hence, her plans of sending money to her mother was disrupted.
On their part, FarmKonnect has said they are not unaware of the present situation and have been working to resolve the issue.
An agent of FarmKonnect told Nairametrics that the company was undergoing restructuring and reorganization, after which a payment pattern would be communicated to subscribers. He said, “Truly, we sent out a payment plan for last year and we were able to run that till around September, those that are scheduled for October, November, December have not been paid yet and we issued out a statement to let them know that the business is working to ensure that payment will commence soon.”
In explaining the reasons for the company’s delayed payment since last year, he said every business had its own share of financial challenges and Farmkonnect was going through that at the moment.
On the specific date the platform planned to begin rollout of funds to investors, the agent, who refused to comment on the cause of delay, said that the information had not been passed across as they awaited instructions from the board.
However, Faturoti feels that the platform disregards him and other members by failing to hold a meeting and communicate the exact cause of the delay and a possible way forward to affected investors as he demands to be paid as soon as possible.
He said, “The only and last meeting we had was in July last year, after which a payment schedule was released. However, the payment schedule has not been followed at all.”
Faturoti and Adebayo are not the only ones who are experiencing disappointments in their investment. Adeniyi Oluwadara, an investor of Bolgate Rice Mill, under an agricultural investment platform, Bolgate Multinational Resource Farms Ltd, also shares his sentiment.
Oluwadara successfully invested in Bolgate Rice Mill between April and July as a returning investor. Unfortunately, his capital became stranded alongside his 9.5% monthly interest for three months after only receiving the first interest.
He said, “It was around April last year when I got to know about them. I made my findings and payment was made into their FCMB account for primitive package.
“I made an investment with a capital of N100,000 with the company for the first three months ended July, 2021 and another, three months thereafter, with a promised interest of 9.5% monthly. After the first payment of the second investment round, I was sent an SMS that their factory in Katsina state was affected by herdsman attack and there was a subsequent report to the regulatory authorities which blocked their FCMB account.
“I am yet to receive my monthly returns for the two remaining months of September and October, 2021 and my capital too which was supposed to come in at the end of the investment period.”
Another investor on social media identified as @youngaboy narrated how he was introduced to the scheme by a friend. He said since last year, returns on his investment has been delayed.
“…he later told me about the company that they’re into agricultural investment so I should invest with them with an interest rate of %9.5 which I did and it was supposed to be 3-month deal. Though I started with a little amount to see how it goes.
“I got the first ROI the first month, but now am supposed to get the next ROI since last week but nothing happened. I went to their office to know the cause, what they said was that it was a technical problem that it will be resolved but I am yet to receive my pay,” he said.
Investors confirmed that they had been to Bolgate’s office located at 142, Mobolaji Villa, Ayobo Road in Lagos, but it was closed. Nairametrics also tried reaching out, but all efforts have been abortive—their website has been down and their contacts numbers not reachable.
Nairametrics earlier reported why crowdfunding platforms were failing in Nigeria. Meanwhile, some crowdfunding platforms appear to be making efforts to solve the problem by engaging with members and communicating a possible plan for a way out, but others are quiet about it, disregarding members and being unreachable.