The founder of Air Peace, the Nigerian airline referenced in this week’s Cabinet Notes as having shown an interest in providing a direct route from West Africa, was charged with financial crimes in the United States three years ago, according to a November 2019 release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
Allen I.A. Onyema, according to the report, was charged with “bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than US$20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts.” The report adds that the scheme involved “false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.”
In addition, the airline’s chief of administration and finance was charged with bank fraud and identity theft.
The information was shared by Antigua and Barbuda nationals in the Diaspora, who aired their concerns that – through the purported Antigua Airways – their home country has gotten itself entangled with other West African scam artistes, either through ignorance or sheer greed.
Also of grave concern, these Diaspora members say, is the fact that “not one word” has been heard from the Browne Administration about the husband-and-wife team who absconded from Nigeria after allegedly “duping thousands of investors” to the tune of 22 billion Naira, and who are holders of Antigua and Barbuda passports through its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
Media reports said the couple and their minor children “had fled Nigeria after their Ponzi scheme, Imagine Global Solutions Ltd., collapsed….”
Their passports were procured in April and May 2021 and, reports said, proved the pair “had planned their disappearance months in advance to avoid suspicion amongst investors.”
Locally, there were unconfirmed reports that the family had, in fact, surfaced in Antigua.
When the news broke, Prime Minister Gaston vowed to capture the pair if they should turn up here. But nothing has been said about them or the situation since.