Ayodele Hamzat started with Foxygreen in July 2020, enrolling in a short-term investment plan involving catfish breeding.
According to information on its Facebook Page, Foxygreen is an agrotech company providing agro-based investment opportunities to individuals and corporations as well as livestock, warehousing, and logistic services.
This was at the peak of the global pandemic that had halted commerce, grounded global travel, and threatened to upend the trade of physical goods and services.
Yet, Foxygreen which also operated as a multipurpose cooperative partnership, was able to deliver, paying back capital plus interest to Hamzat. This was all he needed to embark on a second investment journey; the returns were too “sweet” to ignore.
The fact that he was able to secure his returns as agreed was enough comfort to believe this was a viable company to keep investing in. According to Hamzat, the company paid 8% monthly over a 16 months period. However, the returns start counting from the 5th month, and then capital is repaid after 16 months. It only made sense, he thought, to proceed.
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Unknown to him, he had just opened the door to a shadowy path.
Shortly after that investment, the company began to default on the payment promise. “Unfortunately, Foxygreen sent an email on their restructuring plans in August 2021. I only received ROI payment for 5 months, Hamzat told Nairametrics.
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Hamzat is not the only one on this table frustrated about the non-payment of their investments.
According to our findings, over a thousand investors with investments totalling N3,000,200,000 are at stake. For some of the investors, it was not their first time as they misunderstood the fake out for a rosy one and hence invested a large chunk of their wealth hoping to get a mouthwatering return.
Unfortunately, it is frustration and uncertainty that they have received so far.
In some of the Telegram chats we read, investors helplessly lamented about the company’s inability to refund their capital and interest.
A Telegram user @Augusta wrote, “It’s close to a year now that Adeola Oluwaseun sic (Actual name is Adunola Oluwaseyi) swindled me of my N2 million which was my honest sweat and he has refused to pay me even a penny out of it. Unfortunately, I cannot do anything in my own power to get the money back.”
Another, @Rex Collins said, “I consider Oluwaseyi a fraudster the moment he collected N26 million from my spouse and me, and barely two weeks later, he had the audacity to send me an email on restructuring. Before he collected the said amount, we spoke on the phone and he assured us that everything was okay.”
Several others in forums such as Nairaland shared tales of woes frustrated about their inability to secure a return of their capital stuck with Foxygreen.
In the mail seen by Nairametrics, Foxygreen said it was suspending payouts as of 13th August 2021 from 4 pm.
- The statement read in part, “We will need to temporarily suspend payouts at this time. This is because we have had a lot of premature partnership withdrawals recently and in light of the capital-intensive nature of our ongoing projects, any more depletion in our resources especially through payouts or withdrawals could jeopardize our operations.”
- Foxygreen added that the withdrawals could be attributed to the current skepticism about crowdfunding in the agricultural sector, as well as low partnership renewals in the last few months.
- Consequently, it requested for 4 months for the disbursement of any due payout when it intended to embark on a restructuring process for more effective operations.
- “We are confident that with the proposed restructuring we should be able to commence payout and subscription to our partnership programmes soon thereafter” it stated.
Unfortunately, the stated period elapsed in December last year and as of when this story was being compiled, investors confirmed to Nairametrics that they are yet to receive a dime from the company.
- Findings also indicate that a lot of the investors did not buy the statement from Foxygreen while some opined the CEO misappropriated the fund.
- “I belong to the group who believe that the CEO definitely diverted some funds,” Ayodele said.
He also disclosed that about a year after Foxygreen stopped paying, they shut out investors from all online customer redress mechanisms.
- “Unfortunately, payment is yet to resume to date, Instagram account was closed around Nov/Dec 2021. The website was closed around Jan 2022. There has been no communication since December 2021 and the Telegram group is blocked from chatting.”
- “The last official communication from Foxygreen to all investors was on the 29th December 2021 while the only communication in 2022 has been between the CEO/CEOs lawyer and investors’ Representatives and lawyers about MOA.” He added.
The MOA Foxygreen Signed
Nairametrics also understands that a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was executed between Foxygreen Limited and the investors.
According to the company, the agreement was reached after a protracted period of negotiations to determine the best method to retrieve investment funds from Foxygreen. According to Hamzat, the MOA was a necessary mitigating factor in the event that the CEO of the company, Seyi Adunola is prosecuted or the company is shut down.
“This route aims to avoid scenarios where the business is closed down due to the prosecution of the CEO. The reps claimed this is the fastest route to fund recovery. They claimed we may not recover our funds if the CEO is prosecuted in court and justice may be delayed or denied in Nigeria,” Hamzat said.
The MOA that Nairametics saw also suggested parties were disposed to doing whatever it took to avoid the company being insolvent and unable to meet its obligation even if it meant delaying payouts.
“Sequel to several meetings, visits, inspection and review of the current status of the company’s farm at Foxy Green Farm, Delhi Village along Ijebu Ode Road, Ibadan, Oyo state of Nigeria, the company and the investors mutually concluded that if the said farm is properly managed, the potential in the farm is capable of liquidating the debt obligation over a given period of time.
Challenges still remain
While the MOA addressed some of the concerns of the investors, it failed to provide a defined path to when customers will likely be paid and how.
Nairametrics reached out to the company for comment on the issue but was directed to Korede Oyedele, a lawyer representing Foxygreen who directed us back to the MOA.
He said, “The investors’ lawyer prepared the agreement, we looked at it, we were satisfied with it and we executed. So, if you have any issues about the agreement, speak to their lawyers”.
Speaking with the lawyer representing investors, Azeez Oduneye, he told Nairametrics that he is not in the position to state the specific time frame because he only represents the investors and acted upon what they agreed on based on advice on the most viable option.
“Looking at the asset on ground, it was obvious that the available asset could not cater for billions of dollar debt owed to investors and so as their lawyer, I advised that running the farm would be a lot more viable option than selling the assets and sharing the profit which would not amount to anything tangible at the end of the day. But I am not a financial expert, I don’t know how long it would take to get that amount.
However, Nairametrics sent a direct message to Felix Oyebola, representing the investors’ committee group, but couldn’t get a response as of press time.
After almost a year since the company started to default, the N3 billion owed to investors is yet to be repaid.
- While investors are hopeful that the implementation of the MOA will successfully lead to payment, most investors remain flummoxed about the how and when.
- “If the hired farm managers were to run the business to loss, we don’t know where to go from here. We don’t even know how many years it will take to for all investors to recover their funds,” A concerned investor said.