Owners of Greywolf logistics, Fespan travels, defraud investors millions of naira, shut down operations

GREYWOLF logistics, in partnership with Fespan travels and tours, touts itself as one of Lagos’s fastest-growing logistics companies, with a strong market position in the fastest deliveries to areas around Lagos. It also boasts distribution services powered by a quality orientation, dedicated staff and updated technology. To achieve that, they claimed to source funds from willing investors, which is used to fund motorcycle (bikes) purchases to boost its existing logistics fleet for delivery purposes in Lagos and Abuja, with investors paid Return on Investment (ROI). But that is far from the truth, as it has rather subjected no fewer than 72 investors to awful experiences, poverty, death threats and harassment through its investment platform.


WHEN Onyebuchi Eze was approached by a young man and a woman in January 2022 that investors would get over 60 per cent Return On Investment (ROI), after six months of investing in their logistics business, he gave in after thinking it was a good business opportunity.

This was because he had known the woman, Felicia Iriogbe, as a travel agent who owned Fespan travels and tours for a long time. Besides, he saw a clearer picture of the business, not knowing he was being lured into their trap.

The logistics investment would enable investors to entrust Greywolf logistics and its partner company, Fespan travels, with the purchase and maintenance of their delivery bikes. Afterwards, the company would pay investors their initial capital and accrued ROI at the end of every month for the duration of the investment period for each chosen project.

Eze, and other investors he later brought on board were required to pay a sum of N420,000 (later increased to N500,000) to purchase bikes, which would be operated in Lagos, with a promise of receiving N60,000 in return for a duration of two years.

With what seemed to be a legitimate process, he explained to The ICIR that he signed a memorandum together with their company’s lawyer, who told him he  would take the documents to the court for stamping, Eze was reassured.

“The initial budget we made was N420,000 then, but after about two months, they scaled it up to N500,000. The agreement was that they would buy the bike and manage the bike for you for 24 months, after which they would return the bike.

Another receipt of payment made to the companies account by Felicia, one of the investors introduced by Eze
Another receipt of payment made to the companies account by an investor introduced by Eze

“They are going to pay you a Return of Investment  (ROI) of N60,000 every month and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that they took to court and brought back. It was after they brought it back that they told you that you can’t receive ROI until after two months, stating that it would take them two months to buy the bike and train the rider and do documentation, not knowing that the documentation they are doing was fake,” he narrated with a lump in his voice.

Although Eze received ROI in the first nine months of his first investment, he has since then ceased to receive money from the the companies. This was despite having tried every possible means of reaching out to the directors.


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Eze said he, alongside other investors who registered under his name and their respective names, cumulatively invested N109 million in the business. 

According to him, they did not sense any foul play until after many investors had invested well over N800 million in the business. It was at that point the companies began providing excuses before eventually going to extinction.

“They clone the chassis and registration number of Lagos state, which we didn’t know until around October 2022 that they did the promotion. That was when people started borrowing money and investing. Immediately after, they got to the tune of N800 million from people. They now ceased,” Eze said.

By promotion, Eze is referring to the public campaign by the companies to get more people onboard.

The company and its partner have since shut out members from communicating directly with the directors, and their offices remain closed down.

“He was complaining that the Zenith bank was having a problem. From Zenith Bank was having a problem to fuel subsidy removal. Now, from January 2022 that people invested till today, if their phone contact ring they will switch it off or not answer you. Their shops are closed.”

But Eze is not the only one experiencing this agony. There are many other investors suffering a similar fate. There are even more who have suffered much worse situations because they did not receive any penny and had to go through life and pain to get the money invested paid back to where they borrowed it.

Receipts and MoU signed signed with companies by one of the investors introduced by Eze, showing the amount paid to Greywolf and Fespan
Receipts and MoU signed signed with companies by one of the investors introduced by Eze, showing the amount paid to Greywolf and Fespan

Nwabueze Miracle, an indigene of Anambra state who works in a private firm in Abuja, had to take a loan from the bank to invest in the business in January 2023.

Miracle was among those who registered during the promotion period but have not received ROI from the company since then.

Like others, he was supposed to receive 60,000 ROI monthly on his N500k investment for two years.

“I took a loan, I almost went crazy when i knew i had been scammed, but thank God for family. I still have to pay back the money from my salary – 80% every month. Getting scammed on loan is just wrong and heartbreaking,” Miracle added.

How Greywolf logistics and Fespan travels & tour logistics operate

The ICIR interviewed several investors to understand how these companies approach and persuade individuals to invest in their logistics business. Many investors revealed that they were introduced to the business by either friends, family members, or the two companies’ directors.

It was gathered that the companies contracted a lawyer to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) alongside the directors after the payment had been made. Subsequently, the MoU is taken to a high court in Abuja for stamping.

All transaction documents obtained from the investors displayed a stamp of the Commissioner for Oath, High Court of Justice, Abuja, and another stamp indicating that the MoU was received by the Revenue officer, FCT High Court of Justice.

While some investors reported receiving partial payments, those who registered around late 2022 and early 2023 did not receive any payment from the company despite the binding terms and conditions stipulating that the Return On Investment (ROI) would commence two months after payment.

In 2021, when the investments started, the two companies charged N420,000 for a bike, promising a weekly ROI of N15,000 or a monthly ROI of N60,000, lasting for 24 months. The MoU specified the Q-Link X Ranger 200 2021 as the bike model and, in most cases, displayed FESPAN Travel and Tour account details as the account to pay to.

Investigations revealed a pattern in how these companies enticed people to invest in their businesses through various online advertisements, particularly on Facebook, showcasing riders delivering goods in Lagos.

With Greywolf also boasting of several testimonials both on its social media platforms and to potential investors, some investors claimed that it convinced them to invest their money in the business.

Forgery of court stamps, bike registration numbers to lure investors

The perpetrators went to great lengths to present forged court stamps, creating concern about the legality of their operations.

The ICIR discovered some discrepancies in the stamp and signatures of the Commissioner for Oaths, High Court of Justice Abuja, and the FCT Revenue officer on the MoU provided to the investors, warranting the need to independently confirm if the stamp and signature were indeed from the Abuja High Court.

On Wednesday, January 31, The ICIR approached about three commissioners (who would not disclose their names) of the high court on if the stamp on the documents provided by the two companies to the investors were stamped and signed by the court. 

However, the commissioner confirmed certain discrepancies in the stamp, noting that every stamp from the court carries the commissioner’s name for authentication.

MoU signed by the Heart Chidozie, carrying the forged stamp of High Court Abuja
MoU signed by the Heart Chidozie and Iriogbe Felicia, carrying the forged stamp of High Court of Justice Abuja

According to the commissioners, the court’s stamp has borne names since at least 2011, foiling the documents provided to some investors. These documents did not display the commissioner’s name, and the officials who spoke with The ICIR marked the signature as’ unknown’.

The commissioner also disclosed that the court has been using rubber and personalised stamps, unlike the wooden carved stamp affixed to the documents provided by the investors. 

Similarly, the revenue officer of the court claimed that the stamp indicating payment to the court was forged, highlighting that, although the stamp resembled theirs, it always accompanied by another red stamp.

Another document carrying forged stamp of revenue officer of High Court of Justice Abuja
Another document carrying forged stamp of revenue officer of High Court of Justice Abuja

While The ICIR was yet to independently confirm if the logistics companies cloned their chassis number and registration numbers of the bikes they claimed to own, one of the investors, Eze, noted that he had confirmed that all the registration numbers of the bikes provided by the companies were fake and cloned.

The ICIR sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) to the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), requesting the status of the bikes supposedly owned by the logistics, but despite the seven-day response period prescribed by the FOIA, NIPOST has yet to reply.

NIPOST is a regulatory body responsible for effective and efficient courier and logistics services, licensing processes and procedures and the regulation of the courier and Logistics industry in Nigeria.

Companies not registered with SEC 

Investigations by The ICIR have revealed that the Greywolf Logistics and Fespan travels and tours are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a government agency mandated to regulate and develop the Nigerian capital market, despite a law mandating capital market operators to.

For crowdfunding-based investment, the SEC provides regulations and restrictions for both investors and investments. These financial regulations are implemented to protect investors from overexposure and mitigate the risks associated with crowdfunding investments.

While the SEC’s crowdfunding regulations mandate that companies seeking funding must offer thorough disclosure regarding their business, financial status, and the particulars of the offering, findings by this organisation revealed the companies could not be found on the SEC official website for capital market operators.

When The ICIR also reached out to the SEC’s enforcement and investigation department via an email, it reaffirmed that names and contact details of capital market operators with valid registration can be accessed on their website.

This was against the backdrop of increasing concerns over the lack of regulatory oversight and potential risks posed to investors by unregistered entities operating within the crowdfunding space.

The investment violated not only the country’s extant law requesting investors to register with the SEC as the regulatory body but also most of the body’s regulations, risking a multimillion naira fine and being liable for any loss caused to the investors.

Part 10 of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007 (as reviewed in 2021) states that “Any crowdfunding intermediary that fails to comply with these rules shall be liable to a fine of not less than N100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira Only) and the sum of N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira Only) for every day the violation continues and shall in addition be liable for any loss of investor funds arising due to 50 the Crowdfunding Intermediary’s failure to comply with its obligations under these rules.”

While the SEC stated possible penalties for failing to follow the extant law, The ICIR gathered that weak enforcement of these rules promotes crowdfunding-based investment in the country.

Greywolf logistics registered with CAC two years they began operation

In one of its posts in August 2020, Greywolf announced the opening of its first customer hublet in Computer Village, Lagos state, but records from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) showed the company registered in 2022. 

Record from CAC showing that Greywolf was registered in 2022 despite evidences of business activities since 2020
Record from CAC showing that Greywolf was registered in 2022 despite evidences of business activities since 2020

That was also after some investors claimed to have invested in the business.

Just like the investors claimed that Heart Chidozie Obum is the Director of the company, findings through the CAC portal confirmed him as ‘a person with significant control of the company.


Read also: Accommodation scam: Lagos property agent accused of defrauding client N300,000 on the run


Record from CAC showing persons with significant owner of Greywolf
Record from CAC showing persons with significant owner of Greywolf

It also listed Iriogbe Felicia, who paraded herself as the owner of Fespan, as the Director of Greywolf with two others, namely Okeyode Oyewale David and Orji Chibike.

The address under the company was Ogundipe Street, Santos Layout, Akowonjo, Egbeda, Alimosho, Lagos, Nigeria.’

Meanwhile, the partnered company, Fespan travels, was registered in 2009 and has three Directors, including Felicia, as the Directors of the company. The other two are
Isari Beatrice and Ejemai Iwere.

Multiple investments with no ROI, principal

On September 30, 2022, Joseph Ayes Minmu invested in the logistics, the sum of N450,000, with an expected RoI of N1.4 million for the two years duration. 

Payment receipt to Greywolf by Ayes Mimu
Payment receipt to Greywolf by Ayes Mimu

The company, on the same day issued a receipt confirming Ayes Minmus’ payment and also signed a MoU binding the two parties on the business.

Ayes Minmu, who got to know about the business through a friend, stated that she was only paid for three months out of the 24 months signed in the MoU.

‘I didn’t take a loan, but it’s my hard-earned money. My savings.’ she said as she narrated her ordeal with the logistics company.

“I have been sending messages to their mail no response, calling the CEO (Mr heart Chidozie ) he’s not picking calls. Putting myself in this mess affected my career because I aimed to further my education. Now I am just stranded.”

Another investor, Efe Michael, narrated that he and his family members invested over N2 million in the logistics, having learned about the business through his wife. 

Michael, who lost his job in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic, described his experience with Greywolf as a ‘sham, embodiment of deception and lies upon lies. It has been an embarrassing situation.’

While providing the breakdown of the investment, he stressed that his Dad invested the sum of N905,000 to get a return on investment of N2,880,000 for 2 years. His Mom invested N450,000 to get an ROI of N1,440,000 for two years, and his sister invested N485,000 to get an ROI of N1,440,000, while he invested N420,000 to get an ROI of N1,440,000.

“We all took a loan to start this investment. And it’s been issue upon issue. Embarrassment upon embarrassment. Those we borrowed money from have reported us to the police.

“My Dad, for one, is so angry with how things turned out, especially since my wife introduced us all. We can’t cry more than we already have. It’s really an appalling situation indeed,” he narrated.

Firms shut operations, offices under lock and key

Greywolf office under lock.
Greywolf office under lock.

Meanwhile, since the business has turned downward and failed to remit ROI to investors, both Greywolf logistics and Fespan  Travels and tours have shut down operations, leaving their offices closed, investors told The ICIR.

On January 10, 2024, The ICIR attempted to pay the investment firms a visit at their offices located in Abuja.

Upon reaching the Greywolf office, situated at Suite 32, 29 Adebayo Adedeji Crescent, Silla Zeka Plaza, Utako, the office remained closed, with dust covering the veranda, indicating that it has been shut down for an extended period.

When The ICIR questioned the security guard, Emmanuel, he explained that the office had been closed for over seven months, adding that attempts to contact the management had been unsuccessful.

He noted that The ICIR was not the first to inquire about the office, emphasizing that several others had come seeking information about its status and the whereabouts of the staff.

Emmanuel also said about four months ago, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) came with Heart Chidozie to the office to come and pick up some documents.

Fespan shut down operations for over five months
Fespan shut down operations for over six months. Photo: The ICIR

This was a similar story when The ICIR visited the Fespan travels and tours office at Suite 6B, Rhodand Place, 19, Ndola Crescent, Wuse zone 5, FCT- Abuja.

Despite the presence of different advertising banners around the office corner, it remained shut down. Staff from neighbouring shops confirmed that the Fespan  travels and tours office has been closed for the past six months.

Firms keep mute

When The ICIR reached Heart Chidozie, Greywolf’s director, with its findings, although he read the message, he did not respond. The ICIR had initially asked him if Greywolf logistics was still active; he replied with a ‘no.’ However, when this reporter sent him the findings and allegations made against him, he failed to reply, despite reminders and SMS sent to his phone contact.

On Monday, January 22, The ICIR also called Heart, but he did not answer and instructed to be reached later. However, when The ICIR called back later, he failed to pick up. 

Similarly, all efforts to reach Felicia, Fespan’s director, to speak on allegations against her and her company proved abortive as her contact remained unreachable and her office remained shut down.






     

     

    EFCC, ICPC ask to be petitioned

    When presented with the findings, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) stated that the investors should petition them.

    According to the EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, the EFCC could not jump on the case unless there were petitions from the aggrieved investors stating their plights.

    Also, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) spokesperson, Asuka Ogugua  said the investors should report formally to relevant law enforcement agencies, including ICPC and EFCC.

    “They can also report to FCCPC. I think they are the statutory body that handles such matters,” she said.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

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