Rhoda, the wife of Nigerian lawmaker representing Ondo East/Ondo West Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Abiola Peter Makinde, has lost $100,000 (about N40 million in 2018) in a non-existent Chromite business deal introduced to her by a clergyman and a gospel musician.
The Nigerian pastor, Apostle Olawale Philip Ilesanmi, who is the Founder of Call of Salvation and Deliverance Ministries, Brentwood, Maryland, United States, together with gospel artiste, Agboola Shadare, convinced Rhoda to invest the huge amount of money in the Chromite business in South Africa with a projected mouth-watering return on investment monthly.
The Ondo lawmaker’s wife was told that she could rake in at least $70,000 monthly from the deal and that the business will run for as long as possible.
Chromite, an oxide mineral belonging to the spinel group and containing magnesium, iron, aluminium, and Cr, is used to induce hardness, toughness and chemical resistance in steel, according to sciencedirect.com and Wikipedia.
The brownish-black mineral is found in huge quantities in South Africa and has a high market value, especially following rising demand for the item by the day.
Rhoda, who attends Ilesanmi’s church together with Shadare, after being swept away by the projected return on investment in the deal, decided to finally put in an initial sum of $100,000 in the fake business believing that it was legitimate since two respected ministers in her church were the ones introducing it to her.
But after waiting for about two years without any return on investment and fresh update on the fate and progress of the business from Shadare and Ilesanmi, Rhoda became suspicious and decided to take the matter to court in order to retrieve the huge funds she had put into the deal.
In the court papers of the matter filed on September 7, 2021, before Circuit Court for Prince George’s County in Maryland which were seen by SaharaReporters, the Ondo lawmaker’s wife is demanding payment of the entire amount she put into the fake deal and damages accruing from the same from the gospel musician and clergyman.
Shadare in 2018 had met one Dayo David, a Nigerian living in South Africa, who told him about the lucrative Chromite business and how it was capable of turning investors into wealthy persons in a very short time as a result of its huge returns.
According to the gospel musician, he hinted Apostle Ilesanmi about the discovery and the clergyman in turn lured Rhoda into it.
A total of $500,000 from various investors including Rhoda was sent to David in South Africa by Shadare, who later returned to his base in the United States.
After waiting several months without a word from his Nigerian partner in the Southern African country, the gospel musician knew something was wrong.
“I could not reach David on the phone for a long time but when I finally got him, he told me he was sick and that he was in Sierra Leone.
“All efforts to get the money invested back from him have been difficult. At least $500,000 was lost in the business deal he deceived me into believing was real.
“If I knew it was a fake business he introduced to me, I would not have involved myself in it let alone bring Rhoda and others in as well,” Shadare, who is currently in Europe, told SaharaReporters on Wednesday when contacted over the issue.
When asked to provide documentary evidence of the agreement he had with David before he sent the huge funds to him for the investment to show that he was not pulling a fast one on Rhoda and other investors in the fake deal, the gospel musician told SaharaReporters that there was none and that he related with the man purely out of trust.
“As a fellow Nigerian, I didn’t expect that David could behave the way he did. I trusted him and that was why I didn’t bother to sign any document with him to that effect. I never knew he had other motives,” he said.
As a result of the fallout of the fake business deal, the relationship between Shadare and Apostle Ilesanmi has since fallen apart with two of them now becoming sworn enemies.
Interested only in her money, Rhoda has sued both men in the US court but high-ranking church members and other Nigerians have been putting pressure on her to withdraw the matter from court.
According to findings by SaharaReporters, Rhoda, a medical doctor, who runs a non-profit organisation that supports women through various empowerment schemes, kept the incident away from her husband until recently when he got to know about the court case.
Worried that it could affect the political career of the Ondo federal lawmaker, the couple has done everything within their powers to ensure ‘outsiders’ don’t hear about the issue.
When SaharaReporters reached out to Rhoda and Apostle Ilesanmi over the issue, both declined to comment on the issue despite several attempts by our correspondent to get their side of the story.
A source in Maryland familiar with the matter disclosed that parties involved have been throwing subtle threats at each other as a result of the huge funds lost to the fake business deal.