Religious leaders are some of the most trusted people in Nigeria. There have however been several cases of distrust and breach of trust especially when some decide to do business in God’s name. Many of those who invested in the once high yielding Covenant Fadama Multipurpose Cooperative Society are now biting their fingers in anguish. Some of the investors numbering hundreds of thousands have complained of not getting the returns on their investment. Street Journal’s findings revealed that the cooperative society was the brainchild of one Bishop Jonas Katung, who heads the Maranatha Covenant Churches in Rayfield, Jos and it was founded in 2006. Its main objective was to inculcate the culture of saving into members and also create wealth through some of the ventures the cooperative society engages in.
Findings revealed that things went on normally and many people from all sectors invested, it was so attractive because people were paid their returns as at when due. Farmers, civil servants, Engineers, pensioners and many others saw it as a way of making extra money, and so they tapped into it. People invested in different parts of the country, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Zaria, Covenant Fadama attracted people from all over the country. Many felt at ease in investing their funds having found out the cooperative society was founded by a clergy man of note.
Investors were paid 10% of their premium within 30 days and later it became 60 days. This went on until there was a crash in the activities of the cooperative society around February, 2012. Then the payments of returns stopped. To the chagrin of investors, no one has heard a word from the founder of the society, who doubles as the Chairman about the non-payment or the date of maturity of the funds invested in the project.
Street Journal also found out that when the society was to be founded, the Bishop described it as a project created by God to alleviate poverty. Though it is being alleged in some quarters that the bulk of the funds invested in the cooperative was stolen by some members of the management, Bishop Katung has not come out to state what really happened.
One of the investors, Festus Olare who lives in Port Harcourt told Street Journal that “I invested in Covenant Fadama founded by Jonas Katung in Jan 2012 which was introduced to me by my friend’s wife who has been there as an investor since 2006. We are to be paid 10% of any money invested at the end of 30 days and immediately my 1.5milion was paid into Covenant Fadama account, we were told that it has changed from 30days to 60days.”
Olaore admitted that he got a return on his funds. He said “an interest of 10% was paid to me twice in 2012 and up till end of last year we heard nothing from Covenant Fadama in Jos, and I actually invested when I heard that it is a man of God that founded the Cooperative”. Speaking on the plight of the investors, Olaore said “many people have died because of this crash that happened to Covenant Fadama because Jonas Katung has refused to say nothing about the incident and many of us that are investors are worried. At least the man should come out and say something”.
All efforts to reach the Bishop on phone were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.