A self-styled Nigerian pastor, Ernest Chigozie Mbanefo, has been unmasked as the mastermind of the suspected Ponzi scheme known as MMMNigeria.
Mbanefo’s domain, which is one of the multiple MMM sites in Nigeria, is ranked by Alexa.com as the 78th most visited Nigerian website.
MMM Global, on the other hand, is more popular in Nigeria than Facebook, Nairaland and Bet9ja. The site, whichimage
ranks fifth on Alexa, is behind Google.com, Google.com.ng, Youtube.com, Yahoo.com.
According to an online report quoted by NAN, Mbanefo is based in South Africa.
Nigerian Communications Week said Mbanefo registered the site, MMM-Nigeria.net domain, on June 7, 2016 at about 5pm Nigerian time.
NCW quoting Pageone report written back in September said Mbanefo made a single-year domain payment. The domain will expire on June 7, 2017.
It was also revealed that MMM Nigeria is not part of MMM Global – a Russian company that was responsible for one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes in the 1990s.
MMM Global was founded by Russian politician Sergei Mavrodi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi and Olga Melnikova.
The name of the company was taken from the first letters of the three founders’ surnames (MMM)
But like MMM Global, the Nigerian scheme is also a pyramid marketing scheme where an investor gets a 30 per cent return on investment.
Around the world, MMM is feared.
In January 2016, the Chinese government banned MMM on the grounds that it is a pyramid scheme (Ponzi scheme), and it is not registered in the country (and as a fraudulent scheme cannot be registered).
MMM recently crashed in Zimbabwe: Thousands of ‘Mavrodians’ in Zimbabwe were left in tears when the scheme crashed, losing tens of thousands of their lifetime savings.
PageOne gave Mbanefo’s address as 1 Royal Street, Lindberg Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to Page One, Ernest was awarded a certificate of completion of an online course titled ‘MMM Guiders School’ on July 15. The certificate was supposedly signed by Sergei Mavrodi himself. He has since given himself the nickname the ‘Super Guider of MMM’.
To share news and information about MMM, Ernest also operates a subdomain ‘news.mmm-nigeria.net. The site praises him and projects him as the leader of the Ponzi Scheme in Nigeria.
“He is described thus: MMM Nigeria Super Guider; Pastor Ernest Mbanefo, has been selflessly helping thousands of MMM Nigeria participants whether or not they fall under his downline structure.
“The brain behind the MMM Nigeria revolution operation has been working selflessly and tirelessly towards the education, information and proper guidance for the MMM Nigeria Community.”