Once again, Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP-issued passports have been caught up in an international scandal, this time involving a Nigerian couple.
According to reports in various media, Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi (ah-jay-tun-mobee), have fled their native Nigeria after duping thousands of investors and robbing them of billions in their own currency.
Records show the couple and their six-year-old son obtained Antigua and Barbuda citizenship earlier this year. According to data entries in their passports, Bamise and the boy were granted their passports on the same day, April 29, 2021, while Elizabeth obtained hers a few days later, on May 4, 2021.
News reports out of Nigeria say that copies of the passport “surfaced online overnight, hours after reports emerged that they had fled Nigeria.”
It is alleged that the pair planned their disappearance months ago to avoid suspicion amongst investors. They are accused of having operated a Ponzi scheme under the business name “Imagine Global Solutions Ltd.,” which collapsed and left depositors holding an empty bag.
The company reportedly provided micro-lending service to small and medium businesses, charging 22 per cent interest on loans and paying 10 per cent returns to investors.
The company was reportedly registered in 2017 and boasted that it had a customer base of 90,000 Nigerians.
An online article says, “Several victims on social media detailed how they lost between low five figures to as high as N500 million.” It adds that defrauded clients have formed groups to pool their resources in an attempt to recover their investments.
International reports say that attempts to contact the pair at their address in Lagos proved futile, as their home had been locked, and calls to their telephones “failed to connect” on Monday morning.
The fugitives reportedly have fled to London, where a branch of their company was incorporated in August 2019.
Meanwhile, an online report accuses Antigua and Barbuda of being one of the main Caribbean nations offering passports to fleeing Nigerian fraud suspects.
And here, on Antigua, several embarrassed nationals tell REAL News that this country’s passports have been associated with too many international frauds and crooks since the Gaston Browne Administration took office.
Only a few days ago, international media reported that one of Antigua & Barbuda’s economic envoys and diplomatic passport-holders – Colombian national Alex Saab Moran – had been extradited to the United States to face Federal charges.
Alexandre Cazes (Cars), a Canadian-born CIP passport holder, was recently exposed in the Pandora Papers as being a major player on the dark web. He was found dead in a jail cell in Thailand.
Other names connected with international scandals include Indian diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who made headlines again a few months ago when he reportedly was kidnapped from Antigua and smuggled into Dominica.
It is also alleged that Antigua & Barbuda passports were being manufactured in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for sale to international clients. A local inspector of police, Ray John, is among the three person facing charges for that offence.