Not quite Jenew : Exposed ‘Abuja recruiting firm’ begins controversial refunds

By Frank Eboye

The report  of a recruiting firm in Abuja, Jenew Consulting, that has  just defrauded  thousands of desperate job applicants in Abuja, Lagos and Owerri continues to generate ripples.The firm, last October, claimed that its client, a major player in oil and gas sector, with interest in construction and real estate was seeking to recruit competent and top class and capable individuals into its organization.The Punch Newspapers actually broke the  story  earlier

Positions advertised for, through the popular Guardian Newspaper and other online job sites included: chief operating officer, brand managers, communications managers, confidential secretary, human resources manager, head marketing, civil engineers, business development/marketing executives and receptionist. Applicants were directed to send their applications to a dedicated e-mail address:[email protected]

While narrating her ordeal to this reporter, one of the defrauded graduates, Miss. Gloria Nwoke, said she received ,after five months of applying, a message that bore the name J-Consult, on her phone, in response, that read thus: ’’Your application in response to our October 13th,2011 Guardian Newspaper advertisement has been reviewed. Check your e-mail for more details’’.

The visibly angry lady said she quickly visited the café to check her mail to assess the sent information. She said the message, which was signed by one Mr. Kenneth Pepple, who was described as the head, Human Capital Unit of Jenew Consulting.

The message read: ’’Your application has been reviewed. You have been selected to participate in the screening exercise for the selection of our final candidates. There will be a one-day intensive coaching on ‘’the 21st Century Renaissance Man (in the co-operate workplace)’’ by Professor. Anthonio Rodriquez and his resource team, from the prestigious Institute for Advanced management Baltimore, Maryland.

The message also said that the coaching would be immediately followed by a Prometric Test to ascertain applicants’ qualification for the test and coaching. Applicants were directed to make a payment of N3, 500 for coaching materials. Payments should be made to Jenew Nigeria LIMITED, Oceanic bank account (0054989491), on or before Tuesday, 6th of March, 2012, to facilitate seat reservation. The proposed test and coaching were scheduled for Saturday 10th March, 2012, from to 5.30pm.Listed venues included: Protea Hotel, Asokoro-Abuja; Excellence Hotel, Ogba-Lagos and All-Seasons Hotel, Owerri-Imo.

Nwoke, who said she called the number ,through which a message was sent(097803249),to her phone on the 6th March,2012,before making the payment,  she revealed  that a man picked her call and advised her to go ahead with the payment, as payment would not be allowed to be made at the test venue.

Still doubting the authenticity of the coaching, Nwoke said she went online to gather more information about the company, Jenew Consulting.

Her  words: ’’I was ,however, convinced when I saw the address of the company,96, Aminu  Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja as well as its Port Harcourt address and phone numbers, clearly written on the professionally, colorfully and beautifully-designed website, giving clear information about the activities, track records and reputation of Jenew Consulting.’’

Nwoke, who said she began to be disturbed when two days after making the payment, and was getting prepared for the test, got a payment acknowledgement message, having scanned and sent the payment teller to  jenewconsulting @, as directed, which read: ’’We acknowledged the receipt of payment made for the coaching/Prometric test, scheduled for 10th March,2012. This is also to inform you that the exercise has been shifted. Management apologizes for the inconvenience this might cause you. However, a new date will be communicated to you shortly as the venue remains the same’’.

While speaking to this reporter, in his office, located at 96,Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, Mr. Obichile C. Ebere, the Project Manager, Jenew Nigeria Limited, a properties, oil and gas company, however, denied any knowledge of such a recruitment or coaching exercise, as he argued that their company is not Jenew Consulting but Jenew Nigeria Limited.

His words:’’ We are not Jenew Consulting but Jenew Nigeria Limited. We never organized any training. Many people have been trooping here since last Saturday. We were told some people were directed to make some payment into some bank account numbers, including our own bank account. We have equally told some people to stop making payments, as we are not involved in any training or recruitment exercise.’’

In a disclaimer conspicuously pasted on the company’s notice board and signed by the management, Jenew Nigeria Limited debunked ever organizing any seminar for workers. The disclaimer reads in parts: ’’We are not Jenew Consulting as such. We advise that nobody should pay any more for seminar/training to anybody or any account on our behalf. We are not organizing any training for workers. Beware!’’.

When asked what steps had been taken by JNL to prove its claimed innocence, the moderately bulky manager, said they had visited the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC),to see if such a company exists, but they found out, that no such company exists, as it was not registered.

JNL has also issued a public notice, on the page 16 of the Guardian Newspaper of Friday, 16th March, 2012, intimating the public of its innocence.

On who could be the likely perpetrators of this fraud ,the soft-spoken manager, who said that more than ten people had besieged their office to lodge complaints about the fraud that has been perpetrated, using their company name and corporate identity, said: ‘’Those doing this are insiders; somebody who knows the company very well.’’ He promised the company would fish out the perpetrators in due course.

However, JNL has announced a cash refund for all applicants who ‘’wrongly’’ paid into its Oceanic account, with the name Jenew Nigeria Limited. A public notice, a copy which was made available to this reporter, reads:’’ This is to inform all the people that wrongly paid money into Jenew Nigeria Limited bank account with Oceanic Bank Plc, to come with their bank tellers to collect their money’’.

Reactions have, however, trailed the disclaimer recently issued by JNL, denying knowledge of any recruitment  and coaching exercise for which hundreds of hapless job applicants were defrauded .Mr. Austine Latoye, who spoke to this reporter, very close to JNL office said: ‘’The company, JNL has to do more to prove its innocence, if really it knows nothing about the fraud that was committed for more than five months, using its name, address and corporate identity.JNL would have come out earlier than this, disclaiming the activities of Jenew Consulting. It should not have waited till the time some unsuspecting people had been defrauded’’.

Another source, who pleaded not to have his name mentioned, said: ’’I smell a rat! Everything is tilting towards indicting the company, JNL: the name has some semblance; the lines of business are the same and the payments of money into its account, all show that JNL knows more about the fraud. If not, when money, it did not expect started  trickling into its bank account, why can’t it approach its bank to ask questions? I think, we should stop deceiving ourselves in this country.JNL might have reneged on its recruitment and coaching exercise, when it appeared it could not cope with the inherent modalities. Government should stop this by unearthing those behind this fraud to save hapless and desperate job seekers, and to serve as deterrent to other fraudsters, who take delight in exploiting hapless and poor job applicants.JNL has to do more to cleanse its  already dented name and image’, the source advised.

Mr. Ebere, who refused to have his picture taken by this reporter said:’’ I am not the owner of the company; I am only representing the company’’.

While confiding in this reporter, a company source, who pleaded anonymity said all these were the handiwork of a former  staff member of the company(name withheld) .He  was said to have parted ways with the company last December after defrauding the company to the tune of N4million.The ex staff  who was described as a fraudster, was pointed as the brainchild of the fraud-job scheme.

However, an unconfirmed rumour within the company had it that the company decided to extort money from job seekers through the ploy, because the company needed some money to run a particular contract and thought it could always refund it to the applicants whenever the bubble must have burst.

The company has since announced a refund of the extorted N3, 500 to the defrauded applicants, ones they show up with a proof of payment: the payment tellers.

One of those who have got a refund of their money a lady, who simply gave her name as Mercy, spoke to this reporter, immediately after the payment: “They have refunded the money (N3500).I got it on behalf of my fiancée, who fell victim of the fraud .But my fear is that it is not everyone that paid the money will surely get a refund. Will those in Owerri and Lagos travel to Abuja because of N3, 500’’, she asked.

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