MOTHER OF ALL SCAMS: 40,000 investors lose capital, interest as Farmforte Owners Relocates Abroad


•Medical doctor loses N40m, retiree N21m

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THEIR plan was hatched and carried out with brutal precision. They opened shop in 2012 as “a value chain development firm focused on transforming the agriculture landscape of Nigeria”. They came out loud on both traditional and social media, showcasing their activities in newspapers and on radio and television stations, not forgetting Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and other popular online platforms. For effect, they claimed affiliation with an agro-allied company in Europe.

The design of their company’s website,, was creative, eye-catching and mobile-friendly.

Playing to the rules for five years, Osazuwa Osayi and Uyi Osayimwense, co-founders and co-CEOs of Farmforte Agro Allied, gathered strength and patronage in government circle and the community.

By this time, they had acquired a state-of-the-art cashew processing facility in Edo State and attracted the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to commission it alongside other influential figures home and abroad.

The commissioning received flamboyant hype in the media. Like hunters, they set their trap and waited patiently for their prey. The groundwork settled, they came out in their true colours. First, they branched out of the buying and selling of agricultural products and launched Agropartnerships Technology Limited, a digital investment subsidiary of Farmforte. According to them, “the fund and portfolio management company is licensed by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)”.

At the same time, they announced that Forest Capital, another subsidiary of Farmforte, had acquired Kayvee Microfinance Bank, “to create greater synergy between socio-economic empowerment, agriculture and the finance sector.

Thus, Farmforte became a digital investment platform, where investors are attracted to investing in farm produce with mouth-watering returns on investments (ROI).

According to the company’s website, “Agropartnerships is a simple and secure collaborative platform that enables you to engage in profitable agribusiness opportunities from your home. You can invest in farms, trade in commodities and count your profits in no time.”

This, it seemed, was the original plan of Osayi and Osayimwense. With a strong digital presence, they gradually reclined into the shadow as investors fall on themselves to invest millions of naira in their mouth-watering products called portfolios, with the hope of doubling their investments within a few months.

People of letters and professionals like bankers, doctors, civil servants, teachers, accountants and retirees fell into their trap.

By December 2021, Farmforte suddenly stopped capital and ROI citing “some challenges”. Two months later, they came out via Zoom conference to allay investors’ fears, and that became the last time anyone heard from the joint CEO.

They shut down their Lagos office, plants, investors’ accounts and all contacts and literally vanished into thin air with billions of naira of investors’ funds.

‘How I lost my N21m gratuity to scam outfit’

Olukanmi Ayoola is yet to come to terms with how a certified accountant like him could fall into the hands of fraudulent young men who conned him of his retirement benefit up to the tune of N21,600,000. He came out in frustration to tell his story “so that people can be aware and they will not go on to scam other innocent people.”

Even at that, he could not afford to use his real name in print for the societal and economic backlash.

He said: “I am a respected person in my community and people come to me for investment advice because I’ve been an accountant all my life,” said Ayoola, who retired in 2021 after more than 30 years in service.

The 62-year-old did not have any premonition of what was about to befall him until he was caught in the web of lies and deceit.

He started by putting small amounts into the Agropartnerships digital platform powered by Farmforte and receiving huge profits on his capital as and when due.

Upon receiving his gratuity, he decided to multiply his investments for bigger profits. Instead, he lost the capital and expected turnover.

Ayoola said: “I came across Farmforte in 2018 when a friend introduced their product called Farmforte Food Valley to me. He said they were reliable and responsible and were into agric.

“Then, the government was talking about agriculture and the huge investment that was going into it. I picked an interest and began to do an independent investigation.

“I checked out the company’s website and it seemed genuine. So, I started with N500,000. I got my money and ROI after one year.

“Thereafter, I decided to increase the money to N1 million, and any time I had excess cash, I would put it in.

“I had money in another investment outlet -money market, and due to government policy, the interest became flat.

“At the same time, I was nearing retirement where I worked. I reasoned that I needed to take a decision now to stand on my own. So, I requested for my retirement benefits and was paid. This was in 2019. I retired same year.

“That was how I invested the whole money into the business, which is exportation of agricultural products. As a son of a farmer, I know a little about it, that there is huge profit in it.

“Agropartnerships claims to be in agro-processing and export with affiliation to a company in Holland. I saw one of it videos where Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki commissioned a large expanse of farmland and a cashew processing plant and there were many local farmers saying they had been selling their products to them. It was very believable.

“I also investigated the SEC website and saw that they were duly registered with a registration number.

“On top of that, they had not failed to pay up on due dates on my investments. All these gave me confidence that the company was real.”

At this point, Ayoola decided to push all his earnings into the business.

He said: “I started buying all their products: Poultry 02 Investment, Rice Value Chain, ChickenUp Scale, Palm Oil Processing, Cashew Exporting Scheme, and all sorts of products.

“They were aggressive in the way they advertised their products. Within six hours, if you didn’t invest in it, they would say it had sold out. Any reasonable human being would want to invest.

“They were well organised. I call it organised crime.

“I spread my investments in such a way that as one was getting due, another one was starting.

“I invested N21,600,000 of my money and my ROI also runs into millions of naira. I’ve not received a kobo.”

By December 15, 2021, the due date for one of Ayoola’s investments, the proceeds did not come.

“I was alarmed at first, but they wrote a letter to me that they were having some challenges and would pay me in due course.

That, however, became the beginning of Ayoola’s travails.

“I immediately went to their office and met other investors who were agitated and needed answers,” he said.

Office shut down

In a video on Agropartnerships Facebook page on February 16, Osayimwenme explained the problem: “For a fact the delayed circle payout happened due to two major reasons: first, the global chain supply disruption, which impacted on our ability to obtain parts of our machinery for our processing facility.

“Secondly, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operation affected us… We have taken corrective measure to ensure that this never happens again.

“We appreciate your passion, your endurance, and we take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety of your investment.

“To this end, we have designed specific payout timeline, and we look forward to sharing this with you on the 18th of February.”

Ayoola said: “Two days later, the company addressed us in a town hall meeting on Zoom, and raised our hopes that we would get our money soon.

“That was the last time we heard from them. They closed down their office, shut down their lines and investors’ accounts, and disappeared.”

‘I lost N40m’

Ayoola is not alone in his ordeal. A businessman, who wants to be known simply as John, also joined the scheme in 2019.

John said: “I started investing in the company in 2019, and by late 2021, I had just doubled my investment by N20m when the problem erupted.

“I was in their office where I met Ayoola and we started sharing notes.

“Because the transactions are done online, individually, and with no access to other investors, we don’t know ourselves or able to share our stories until it was too late.”

Altogether, John has N40 million locked up in Agropartnership’s account.

Another victim, David, who had invested in three portfolios worth over a million naira with Agropartnerships, has a similar story to tell.

He said: “I started with N500,000 in April 2021 and received the interest promptly on the due date.

“The ease with which the profits were paid spurred me into opening two additional portfolios with the firm.

”However, things took a different turn when Farmforte stopped paying capital and interest at the end of 2021.

Another investor loses N300,000

The loss of another investor, Serah Lawal, is small in comparison to those of Ayoola and John.

Lawal said: “I invested in Agropartnerships Potato Scheme in January 2021 and I was supposed to get my investment and ROI by October 27.

“On the due date, I sent an email to the company and got a reply. They told me that they were going through some challenges and needed to reconsider how they made their payouts.”

She noted that the company promised to pay her by February of the following year (2022), but failed tofulfil the promise, and multiple attempts she made to reach them were futile.

According to Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), she lost N300,000 after investing in three units of the scheme, while Adetoun Adekanmbi, a Lagos State-based medical doctor, lost close to N600,000 after investing in the company.

“I started investing in Agropartnerships in 2020 and I invested over N800,000 in various cycles.

“Some of the cycles lasted nine months and some 12 months. I was promised an ROI of 36 per cent.

“Initially, I got my ROI and capital as and when due. But by 2021, investors started complaining about the inability to withdraw pay-out funds from their wallets.

“When the admin of the company was contacted, they apologised and blamed it on technical errors.

“However, in February 2022, it was apparent that there was more to the issues than the earlier stated reason.

“Thereafter, we were told in a Zoom meeting that some pay-outs would be delayed because of the loss the company incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. They said they were structuring their investments so that pay-outs could recommence in July 2022.

“However, since that meeting, no more updates have been given to investors, and people can no longer log in to see their records of investments and expected returns.

“Also, their numbers and emails have been unreachable.

“I know I still have an estimated N400,000 investment in the company and likely an expected ROI of about N200,000, but I can’t log in to validate this.”

‘I lost more than N1m’

Another investor, Oyinkan, a banker, said he lost more than a million naira.

Said she: “When I started the investment in April 2021, I would always receive a payment of N50,000 at the end of every three months. That was like 10 per cent quarterly payment on my capital.

“By the beginning of 2022, when I was supposed to receive my third quarterly ROI, nothing came in for me. Since then, the firm has not paid me a dime.

“It is not even certain that I would get my capital back.”

He said he was encouraged by the timeliness of the initial profit payment to invest in another product that was on offer by the firm.

“I put N700,000 capital on Agropartnership’s Poultry 02 Investment, and another N400,000 capital on the firm’s Rice Value Chain.

“The only ROI I got was N72,000 on both investments. I am concerned that we have seen different patterns like this before, where the CEOs run off with investors’ billions.

“This is Nigeria; I have seen huge investments disappear.”

Lawal Seyi, another investor, related how he lost out after investing N96,000 in the firm’s Poultry 02 plan in 2001, and N250,000 in its Cashew Value Chain in January 2021.

60,000 investors’ money gone

A visit to Agropartnerships’ Instagram page showed the enormity of investment monies stolen. It is filled with comments from angry investors swindled of their monies, and they are in hundreds.

Their Facebook account shows hundreds of investors bemoaning their losses. On their Twitter and Instagram pages, there are hundreds more who are yet to come to terms with the fact that their monies were gone.

Osayimwense, during the Zoom meeting with investors, claimed that the firm had over 60,000 subscribers with 20,000 paid off.

If his words were to be taken seriously, 40,000 investors must have lost various degrees of capital and interest, translating to billions of naira.

Mode of operation

From the investors’ explanation, there is a clear pattern in Farmforte’s operation. It was able to hoodwink investors with a promise of unbelievable Returns on Investment (ROI).

Ayoola corroborated the notion, saying: “At times they would say 15 per cent or 26 per cent and up to 40 per cent depending on the duration of the investment.

“One year’s investment could attract 46 per cent. It is normally graduated and it goes on like that.”

Another pattern is to spur unsuspecting investors with prompt payments to make them commit enormous capital.

“Initially, I was getting my returns exactly on due dates. They would be the ones to even call me to check my wallet, that money had been deposited there.

“They were so professional about it and that is why I put my life savings into it. I did not know they were merely setting me up,” informed Ayoola.

He said living had become a tough experience for him.

He said: “I’ve lost everything. I can’t buy fuel in my car. My children are out of school.

“Each time I think about it, I cry. My life savings are gone.

“What kind of country are we in? You cannot invest, you cannot trust anybody.”

Ayoola, who said he had three children in the university, added: “I can’t fend for them or provide for their needs in school. My wife, who works in a ministry, is the one helping out now. That is what is keeping me going.

“I should be enjoying years of labour in retirement, but I still hustle to make ends meet. I am in pain.”

Ayoola believes that investors’money trapped in Farmforte would be in excess of N2 billion.

“I have over N20m with the company. I’ve met other people that have invested more than that. Imagine the thousands of people who have invested millions.

“This company cannot be allowed to go scot-free or allow other Nigerians to suffer this problem.”

Ayoola said if he had not printed out his investment details on his account in December 2021, the only proof that he and most other investors would have of their dealings with the firm would be the email addresses they were assigned at the point of registration.

“Now, you cannot log into your account, thereby erasing all the dealings you had with them. They planned all these from the beginning.”

The sec angle

A new dimension was introduced into the matter on March 11, 2022 when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sealed off Farmforte’s office.

According to a statement issued SEC, Farmforte “is one of the companies sealed for engaging in fund management-related investment activities without proper registration.”


Claims on Agropartnerships’ website that all their portfolios were insured by Leadway Assurance Plc also proved to be another lie. While Farmforte, the parent company of Agropartnerships, is under Leadways’ Agri-Techpartnership, Agropartnerships is not.

Even for Farmforte, very few of the products they dealt in were insured.

Efforts made to reach Agropartnerships through text and calls were futile.

Attempts to get an insight into the operations of Farmforte led the reporter to thecompany’s former Human Resource Manager, Seyi Soremekun, who confirmed that Osayi and Osayimwense defrauded the company.

Soremekun said: “I left the company in 2021 when the owners began to cut corners. They became evasive and stopped paying the salaries of staff in June 2021.

“I had to leave them because I did not see a good ending in the way they were running the company. I received calls from investors every day.

“If I had not left long before the problems started, I would have been culpable too.”

Soremekun reasoned that the CEOs ran the company aground.

An email to Andre Schaap, former CEO of Farmforte Europe, their parent company, also turned up valuable information on the conmen and how they ran the company.

According to André Schaap, who played an advisory role when Farmforte started operation in Nigeria, the company was not set up for digital investment. The owners had other plans for going in that direction.

He said: “That my name came up during your investigation is not strange, as I was the CEO of Farmforte Europe BV. I was in Nigeria many times at the Farmforte head office and advised them in the development of the farming operations. This is regarding the packaging and processing of products that were grown at the farm in Benin City.

“I know that all the phone numbers are not working anymore from Farmforte Agro Allied and From Farmforte Europe BV.

“I left the company in March 2021 as I was not paid for several months, and I did not want to continue anymore.

“There was such an issue with the trust of the brothers (Osayi and Osayimwense), as I was not ever even notified that anything was not going the right way.

“Farmforte Europe BV is still at the address in Meppel but fully abandoned and there is no staff working there anymore. The company is on the edge of bankruptcy.

“Farmforte Europe BV was set up for different reasons, and not as a scam!

“The first was to develop an access market into the EU for sweet potatoes that were grown on a farm near BeninCity.

“The second was to develop products that were made from sweet potatoes like sweet potato beer and sweet potato crisps, sweet potato fries, sweet potato flower, etc.

“The third reason was to organise an off-take of processed cashew nuts in Nigeria.

“The fourth was to build an organisation that was able to sell fruits and vegetables that were grown in Africa and other countries in theworld.

“The fifth and last was to build a market for African food products like fufu and gari, etc, and to export and distribute these from Nigeria and other African countries through the Netherlands into the supermarkets in the EU.

“The announcement on the 15th of December 2021 to the investors came for me as thunder and lightning, totally unexpected as a huge surprise.

“Suddenly, they announced they could not pay investors funds with interest that they should pay that date.

“Six days before that, they were in Holland and did not ever mention there were any problems!

“Looking back, I think thencompany was set up with the best of intentions. However, it was mismanaged by the owners and things could have gone totally differently with different decisions.”

[b]To put a nail in the coffin, Schaap said the CEOs are somewhere abroad living large with investors’ monies and unpaid salaries of workers, suppliers and builders.

“I am quite sure the owners are not the losers in the whole story, and they are still having a very good life living outside Nigeria.

“The people that suffered were the staffs that were not paid for months of the labour they did put in, the investors that lost their money, as well as some suppliers that lost money. For example, the building company that did the construction.

“I hope this gives you some insight into what has happened.”[b]

It is apparent that Osayi and Osayimwense have bolted with billions of naira put in their trust, and investors are not the only ones gnashing their teeth. Scores of employees, suppliers and builders are also writhing in pain for ripping them out of their daily living.

Ayoola warned: “I have petitioned the Economic and Finances Crimes Commission (EFCC) with evidence several times, but I did not get any reply. I don’t think the government is doing anything about this matter.

“These people are fraudsters, and if they are not brought to book, they will return again with another name and company.

“We are calling on the EFCC to investigate this case and bring Osayi and Osayimwense to book.”

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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