Swans Commentary » swans.com April 6, 2009  



Feeling Sorry For Nigerian Scammers


by Femi Akomolafe





"Moron loses money."


(Swans - April 6, 2009)   It is very difficult for me not to feel sorry for and angry at the sad parade of bush-league amateurs that call themselves scammers in Nigeria. There they are, a bunch of incompetent fools, wasting their time, resources, and energies writing stupid letters...



Let me start by introducing myself. I am Patrick K. W. Chan Executive Director & Chief financial Officer of Hang Seng Bank Ltd. I have an obscured business proposal that will be of great benefit to you and me. It involves the transfer of funds and I need you to assist me in executing this business project from Hong Kong to your country. It involves the transfer of money. Everything concerning this transaction shall be legally done without hitch. Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue. Once the funds have been successfully transferred into your account, we shall share in the ratio to be agreed by both of us. I shall furnish you with more information about this transfer operation immediately I receive a positive response from you.

I will appreciate your earliest response.

Kind Regards,
Mr. Patrick K. W. Chan]

...and getting measly peanuts for their efforts.

Occasionally, a few brainless morons, with more money than brain cells, respond to these obviously bogus letters and send the SOBs a few thousand dollars, laptops, and other pathetic stuff. These mindless idiots, apparently too befuddled by the sudden windfall, become instant Capitalist Niggers. Instead of investing (that word!) in productive ventures they will start splashing money around like they've got private mint at home. It does not take long for tongues to start wagging -- gossip is a favorite pastime of idle minds, and it has been perfected to scientific form in many parts of Africa. When eventually the arms of the law grab them, they are given a long stretch of jail terms since many African governments have at the instigation of the West passed legislation against these types of crimes. After all, crime does not pay, most especially when perpetrated by evil-minded black men against white people.

For these stupendously pathetic efforts and rewards the scammers succeeded in turning their country into a world-class pariah state. Holding a Nigerian passport has become a sentence to the long stretch of interrogation at border posts. People around the world now look at Nigerians with suspicion, contempt, and disdain.

Even Colin Powell, George W. Bush's secretary of state, chipped in. He famously called Nigeria a nation of scammers. We, of course, should pity that war criminal with absolutely no sense of shame, as he appeared not to have read his history well. This Uncle Tom and his criminal gang launched a colonial war of aggression that killed (who is counting?) Iraqis in order to steal their oil wealth. And he had the audacity to insult another country as being made up of thieves! I wonder what the scallywag thinks his nation's multinational corporations have been doing in the non-white world if not scamming the natives. I wonder whether the idiot has ever read the famous speech of another general, Smedley D. Butley: "War is a Racket."

Let's leave our inane Uncle Tom alone for a while.

As usual, the Western media, vigorously pursuing the agenda of their corporate bosses, come to town to bash Nigeria. From London through Paris to Washington and down under in Australia, Nigeria becomes the butt of jokes. Even talk-show hostess Oprah Winfrey has been recruited in the endeavor. Nigerians are portrayed as evil-minded people whose only desire in life is to swindle decent, innocent, Christian, God-fearing, hard-working, and honest white folks. But is this the reality? I shall tackle that issue another time.

Some Africans get defensive when white folks give their usual sanctimonious speeches about crimes and things. I do not. I suffer from no complex that would make me listen to the children of pirates, gun-boat diplomats, slavers, colonialists, and continent stealers giving me any lecture on morality. Since the dawn of time, as history bloodily attests, Euro-Americans have done nothing but steal, loot, plunder, and expropriate the resources of other people -- if only people will read! "Blessed is he that readeth." Revelation 1:3.

Western banks are said to be holding about $60 billion of looted Nigerian money. No one is crying. Now that some Nigerian swindlers are hitting back, all we hear are shouts of "What a tribulation!" Tony "Liar" Blair promised an "ethical foreign policy" that, however, didn't stop British banks from accepting money looted from the Nigerian treasury by the late Nigerian muscular dictator, General Sanni Abacha. The Nigerian government has been engaged in "negotiation" with the Swiss authorities to get the alpine nation to repatriate some of Abacha's loot. The Swiss demanded of the Nigerian government PROOF that the money was stolen. One wonders if they demanded PROOF OF OWNERSHIP before accepting billions of dollars from an infantry general in a poor, Third World country.

All the crimes committed against Africa are never front-page news in the Western media. When African dictators loot their national treasuries they are welcome at Western airports with high protocol. They are met, wined, and dined at the highest official and private levels. Safes with secret codes are provided for them to lodge their ill-gotten wealth. This stolen African wealth is helping to improve Western economies while further impoverishing Africa. All these stories and acts are not bannered on headlines. It is only when a few Africans manage to steal a tad of millions of dollars that we are told that crime does not pay!

Now back to the Nigerian so-called scammers. Whilst the wretched fools were messing about duping people of hundreds of bucks, serious folks in the West were doing serious business. Gamblers masquerading as bankers managed to collapse blue-chip companies from Australia to Venezuela and beyond. They left in their wake crumbled banks, disintegrated pension funds, fragmented mortgages, and other financial woes that officials are still busy unraveling with no end in sight. They toppled a few governments and left the world's economy reeling with no one clued for a solution.

And after all these horrendous crimes, NO ONE -- repeat NO ONE -- has been jailed. Okay, okay, Mr. Madoff and Sir (imagine that) Stanford have been arrested, but we are being made to believe that the governments, with all their agencies and institutions, and the oxymoronic outfits they call intelligence agencies, all went to deep sleep while these white-collared criminals were doing their thing.

While a Nigerian scammer would be very lucky indeed if he could grab 10 million dollars, one very (un)respectable folk, Bernard Madoff, managed to "mismanage" 50 billion dollars (and counting) -- close to one-third of Nigeria's US$170 billion GDP!

Madoff claimed to have a "proprietary strategy" to turn mere money into megabucks. It has since been revealed that it was a Ponzi scheme: using money from new investors to pay off old ones. Unlike those pitiable idiots from Nigeria who must constantly watch their backs, Mr. Madoff moved in elite circles. He has a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. He owns shares in two private jets and his private yacht is comfortably moored off the French Riviera. He wined and dined with the movers and shakers and shapers of power so much so that he became a sort of an elder statesman on Wall Street. He managed to get into important boards and commissions where he helped shape securities policies and regulations. Along the way he was made the chairman of a major stock exchange, Nasdaq! It is like appointing Al Capone as the Chief Security Officer at Fort Knox.

According to the BBC, Madoff is said to have told FBI agents that there was "no innocent explanation" for the collapse of his investment scheme. The money has simply gone into "money heaven."

That was Mr. Madoff for you. Let's turn to another financial wizard who could have taught the Nigerians a thing or two. Welcome, (Sir) Robert Allen Stanford.

Sir Allen, as he likes to be called since being knighted by his pals in the Antiguan government, is the latest scammer to be exposed. Like Madoff, Sir Allen does not believe in doing things by half. He courted and befriended officials at the highest echelons. Many US legislators, Charles Rangel of New York and Senator Bill Nelson (Democrat from Florida who, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, received more money from Mr. Stanford and his employees than any other lawmaker: $45,900), were among his friends. In 2007, a magazine declared him the "Investment Banker of the Year!" Whatever happens to investigative journalism!

Sir Stanford assiduously wooed US lawmakers and their staff with plane rides and "fact-finding" trips to vacation destinations. The Inter-American Economic Council, a nonprofit organization that Sir Allen supported, paid for many of the trips. Sir Allen wooed prospective investors by offering them flights to Antigua on his private jets. This was followed by a breezy trip through Antigua's quiet bays on his yacht. The richest prospective investors would then be lodged for a few days in cottage guest rooms at his secluded Jumby Bay, a 300-acre private island cozily cocooned in a nature preserve. Sir Stanford liked to be surrounded by a bevy of scantily attired, leggy, blonde Barbie dolls.

The pocket-sized Caribbean Island of Antigua (442 sq mi/171 sq mi; 69,481 - 2007 est. population) is a country that Sir Allen literally had in his pocket.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Sir Allen's "Stanford's investment companies spent over $5 million on lobbying, $2 million on campaign contributions, and thousands more on flying members of Congress to the Caribbean, where Stanford lives. Many of the legislators do have longstanding interests in the region and have reimbursed him."

With so many friends in the highest places, it is little wonder that the responses of governments to the vast crimes of these so-called investors was to press their money-printing presses into higher gear -- they have to bail out their friends. After all, these unconscionable scammers are in good company: "In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn in a US-directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme."(cf. The Independent).

'Nuff said!


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About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a computer consultant, a writer and social commentator, an avid reader, and a passionate Pan-Africanist who lives in Kasoa, Ghana. Femi is known to hold strong opinions and to express them in the strongest terms possible. As he likes to remind his readers: "As my Yoruba people say: Oju orun teye fo, lai fara gbara. It means that the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching wings." Femi Akomolafe's views, opinions, and thoughts can be accessed on the blog he maintains: http://ekitiparapo.blogspot.com/.



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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published April 6, 2009