“When the investment part of First Currency was introduced to us, they told us that a client would get twice any amount he or she invests within a period of one hundred days and this would go on four times before the investment money would expire. After the first one hundred days, every one received his or her dividends. Now, it’s been over three hundred days and I have not received money from the company”, a Buea based client of First Currency (a web banking company) in Cameroon tells Mimi Mefo Info on the basis of anonymity.
He attests that having invested one hundred thousand francs cfa, he has received a dividend of 200.000f cfa once instead of four times.
“I have been to the Buea branch office of First Currency several times since January 2019, all they tell me and other clients suffering the same situation is that money is not yet available. They have been manipulating us like kids. I am really tired of their promises”.
He explains how he has abandoned studies because of no money to pay fees and other basic school needs.
“I guess it was unwise for me to have relied on such a venture”, he adds.
He accused the management of First Currency Web Banking Company of not respecting the terms of agreement for the payment of dividends to their clients.
Sone Clinton and wife deposited one million Francs CFA at First Currency in the month of October 2018 in Buea. Following the terms of deposition, the Sone couple were to harvest two million Francs CFA in the month of December 2018, which is after one hundred days.
“I was surprised and disappointed that just one hundred thousand francs was given to us. Two weeks later, we received another one hundred thousand sum.This means as I speak to you today,I have received just two hundred thousand after investing one million Francs eight months ago”, Mr.Sone explains.
Sone Clinton states that if First Currency Web Banking Company respected her terms of agreement then, he would received four million Francs CFA as of May 2019.
On what officials of First Currency have been telling him, he says management keeps pointing accusing fingers at the current socio political tension in the North West and South west Regions of Cameroon.
“I have not tried to seek justice for now. It’s true that First Currency is illegally keeping my investment money but I am helpless and have nothing to do. I just hope and pray that one day I will be lucky to have the money”.
Nyam Grace Ngwaseri, another client of First Currency branch in Buea says she visited the branch office at Mile 17 in Buea Friday May 17th just to find the doors locked.
Nyam Grace tells us “I invested 25.000 Francs in the month of November 2018 at First Currency on the recommendation of a friend. Since then I have not received a Franc as interest or dividends as they call it. Each time I go there, asking for my money, they will tell me to persevere and wait”.
Grace combines the selling of food items and farming to survive. To her, failing to pay her dividends or better still her interest has been affecting the functioning of her family.
“My child is critically sick. I don’t have money to take her to the hospital. Yet First Currency does not want to pay my money”.
Contacted on phone, the branch manager of First Currency Buea says “It is not like they (clients) can’t get their money as promised. It’s just that, the company has been experiencing some ups and downs.” Agbor Samuel attests that there are little issues in the conception and payment of dividends to clients of First Currency that are delaying the payment process.
Optimism of Management.
To Kah Richard Muh, executive director of administration of First Currency “The management of First Currency Web Banking Company has paid 70% of her thirty five thousand registered customers in Cameroon since May 2018 when the company went operational in Cameroon.”
While acknowledging that ‘a minority few’ have not been paid their dividends as stated, the executive director of administration remains optimistic that all dividends will be paid accordingly in the near future.
With branches in five towns in Cameroon, Kah Richard Muh, executive director of administration ascertained that the armed conflict in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon has greatly frustrated some avenues of generating funds to pay clients. Asked when the complete payment of clients will be done, the Executive Director of administration does not provide a specific date but calls on clients to be patient.
Inner sources at the First Currency have hinted Mimi Mefo Info that the calculation of dividends to pay to clients at the launching of the web banking company in 2018 was too high and failed to take into consideration realities involved in generating resources for payment.
A source has confirmed that financial experts of the web banking company have been concerting on how to trim exorbitant dividends to clients earlier allocated with the main intention of attracting members of the public to contribute financially for the successful kick off of the company.
At the moment, First Currency Web banking is counting on other investors to deposit huge sums of money that can be used to pay disgruntled clients who for months have been nursing fears of an eventual close down of the financial institution.
The Anglophone crisis and the general socio political tension in Cameroon that have been cited several times by management of First Currency are far from over. Government has accepted dialogue with the pre condition that secession will not be part of it.
This means the disagreement remains. How First Currency intends navigate the situation and raise funds urgently to meet the demands of disappointed clients is what everyone is keen to see.
Dominic Meme Nwakimo
Mimi Mefo Info