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MONUMENTAL FRAUD ROCKS LEKKI GARDENS HOUSE….HOW RICHARD NYONG MILKS HOME OWNERS DRY

For some time now in the Nigeria’s real estate and property business, one name that has been reverberating is Lekki Gardens. This is on account of the almost irresistible offer the company has been offering potential home owners. One begins to wonder the real uniqueness of Lekki Gardens, given the ‘rare’ ingenuity of its young MD/CEO, Richard Nyong, given his rather new entry into the business.

Although Richard Nyong,is known to be a stickler for excellence. It is, therefore, no exaggeration when people discuss the growing and rapid success of his estate company, which is currently taking the Lagos housing sector and beyond by storm, with palpable excitement and unusual applause.

been smiling to the banks after successfully delivering over 2,000 housing units comprising thousands of semi-detached houses to terraced duplexes and flats in more than nine upscale residential estates. They are named Lekki Horizon, Lekki Paradise, Lekki Gardens II, III and IV located between Chevron Bus Stop and Lagos Business School, Victoria Island, Lagos. With a tinge of satisfaction, he was once quoted as saying: “There is no magic in what we have achieved. I would rather ascribe the success to a clear vision of housing solutions and an innate desire to serve the customer.’’

But there is a snag in all these grandstanding approach to the business of estate management and real property investment. It has been allegedly gathered that some subscribers are bitterly crying out against the cut-throat rents and sundry additional fees being charged by his Lekki Gardens’ management team after they have made full payment for their respective houses and apartments as it were. Some of these additional fees range from payment of an extra kilowatt for electricity to a Deed of Assignment fee, to poor infrastructure and a huge monthly service charge. Consequently, owners of homes in Lekki Garden Estates, who described the various fees as outrageous and exploitative, said they would definitely resist the arbitrary charges in all ways possible, including redress in court as a last resort.

In view of the ongoing fuss, Nyong has been urged to urgently act fast so as to save the situation from degenerating further, before the whole razzmatazz about his astronomical rising profile becomes a sour taste in the mouths of many .It is very revealing and damned interesting about how this young man and his team have been going about this business, albeit shady, but coated with lofty perks to would-be and potential home owners, who in most cases are easily hoodwinked into the whole deal without any iota of doubt .

The scheme, now being likened to a Ponzi scheme is well-known in many business and investment circles as an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. For the records, Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors to create the {false} impression that investors are profiting from a legitimate business. With little or no legitimate earnings, Ponzi schemers require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue.
But no sooner than later, Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out. And this is where Lekki Gardens may be gravitating towards if care is not taken. Lekki Gardens offers more on paper than they can deliver in physical, but keeps luring more investors with their marketing strategies, using celebrities high profile people and offering as much a ‘buy one get one free’ bait. Isn’t that too good to be true? Where did that much money come from to pay celebrity ambassadors and fund movie projects? Or is it the hard-earned 50 thousand naira per month from an innocent investor or whatever payment scheme that funds all these? Or are they robbing Peter to pay Paul? All these questions and posers must be begging from answers from the Nyong-led Lekki Gardens Estates.

A quick reminder akin to this kind of scam and sharp practices is the dubious and spurious loans savings scheme of the Umanah episode in Port Harcourt years back. Our readers need not be told of what happened to many unsuspecting depositors of that fake loan scheme turned scam of big magnitude. So, is the Lekki Gardens Home Ownership Sheme a Ponzi scheme? Ask yourself. The Lekki Gardens system of purchase is mostly on mortgage-acquired basis by gullible investors when the case isn’t outright purchase.

An individual on a mortgage scheme gets an indirect loan from the bank that attracts an interest, which in the Nigerian banking system is a high one. If this is factored into, with the high cost of construction, one tends to wonder if the unrealistic cost of these buildings is for real or a veiled rip-off. Talking about the mortgage loan system, what happens to defaulters? A testimony of an unfortunate investor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, is better imagined than experienced.

Hear him, ‘I bought into the Lekki Gardens Housing Scheme, with the allocation of a house that was yet to be completed. Unfortunately, in the course of the whole bargain and periodical payment, I lost my job and couldn’t continue payment as scheduled. Now I was told, I have to wait till the unit could be sold to another subscriber before I can ever think of getting back my already down payment and also would lose a percentage of my total payment made.

It is very sad.’ This is a shout out to Nigerians to shine their eyes before another more catastrophic Umanah episode plays itself out again with many casualties in tow, with the astronomical rate Lekki Gardens’ investors are trooping to the company for investment in the shoddy scheme. Meanwhile, an interesting twist was added to the whole already nauseating issue, when a principal player in the building industry, an architect to be precise, hinted this tabloid that at most of the estates visited, many of the structures on ground may not be of quality materials and industry-approved standard for physical structures of this nature and that even if they appear aesthetic enough, there are still some doubts as to their superior quality to stand the test of time.

And that even if the houses being built are finally delivered to the prospective owners, it will only take a matter of time before they begin to come down collapsing, because of the inferior quality of materials involved in the construction of some of the houses. While Urban Life is not out to run Nyong and his ‘lofty’ Lekki Gardens’ Home Ownership Scheme down, it is only expedient for the respective regulatory authorities concerned with home ownership schemes and building construction to at least take a cursory look into the activities of Lekki Gardens. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine.

-Culled from urbanlifeng

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