The Perfect Porridge Company

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The following letter came to my work out of the blue. From the reading of it someone is reworking the mine tailings.


DR. SHAMSUDEEN D. USMAN
PLOT 22. A LANE,
CBN LSTATE, TINABU SQUARE. LAGOS
TEL: 234-1- 4805653; FAX: 234-1-7592995 13TH JUNE 2002

Dear Sir,

AFTER A SERIOUS THOUGHT, I DECIDED TO REACH YOU DIRECTLY AND PERSONALLY. I AM DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL WIRE REMITTANCE TRANSACTION AT CBN. I AM COMPELLED TO CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY CONSIDERING THE PRESSURE, THREAT AND BLACKMAIL DIRECTED AT MY PERSON BY YOUR ASSOCIATES HERE IN NIGERIA (The bastards!) OVER MY REFUSAL TO AUTHORISE REMITTANCE OF AN INFLATED CONTRACT SUM, WHICH IS FLOATING IN NIGERIA CENTRAL BANK (CBN) SUSPENSE ACCOUNT. YES, ALL BUREAUCRATIC PROCEDURE FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE FUND IS IN PLACE BUT IT CAME A LITTLE TOO LATE. AFTER THE COMING TO POWER OF THE PRESENT CIVILIAN ADMINISTRATION WHICH IS STAGING A FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION FROM ALL FRONT. IN FACT, IT HAS SET UP A PROBE PANEL HEADED BY A RENOWNED ECONOMIST TO INVESTIGATE ALL CONTRACT AWARDED AND PAYMENT FOR CONTRACT FROM 1975 TO DATE. THIS DEVELOPMENT MAKES IT VERY RISKY TRYING TO REMIT THE FUND TO YOUR ACCOUNT. YOU AND I, LIKEWISE YOUR PARTNERS HERE, KNOW THAT YOU DID NOT EXECUTE THIS SAID CONTRACT FOR WHICH THE CLAIM IS BEING MADE. (Surely it can't be so transparent?)

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, I WILL SERIOUSLY ADVICE YOU TO HOLD ON FOR THE REMITTANCE NOW UNTIL WHEN THE RIGHT TIME COMES BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY I WILL AUTHORISE SUCH PAYMENT THAT I WILL NOT BE PROBE. I CHERISHED MY JOB A LOT. I AM AWARE THAT YOUR PARTNER HAVE BEEN PESTERING YOU WITH MONEY DEMAND TO OFFSET ONE OFFICIAL BILL OR TAX WHICH YOU OUGHT TO KNOW IS NOT CONVENTIONAL. (True) ALL FINANCIAL COMMITMENT ON A FUND BENEFICIARY WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM IN OUR POSSESSION BEFORE REMITTANCE SO DON'T ALLOW THESE PARTNERS OF YOURS TO SWINDLE YOU OF YOUR MONEY ON THE PRETENCE OF OFFICIAL BEAURACRACY. (Surely they would never do such a thing?) THEY KNOW WHAT IS HOLDING BACK THIS FUND. I HAVE TRIED TO MAKE YOUR PARTNERS REASON WITH ME WHY IT IS NOT REASONABLE AND REALISTIC TO REMIT THIS FUND AT THIS JUNCTURE. BUT THEY DON'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT BE ON THE SHOOTING LINE WHEN IT WILL BE DICTATED. THEY WANT ME TO PUT MY JOB AND YOUR BUSINESS ON THE LINE. (You sound like a good and honest man, Dr Usman. A rare commodity in Nigeria.)

THE SECOND REASON WHY I DECIDED TO CONTACT YOU IS, I BELIEVE YOU AS A BUSINESSMAN WORTH DEALING WITH CONSIDERING YOUR MATERIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES INVESTED SO FAR IN THIS TRANSACTION, I ADMIRE YOUR PATIENCE AND RESILIENCE, WHICH YOUR PARTNER LACKS; (How right you are...) THEY ARE NOT GOOD READERS OF EVENT AND TIME. (Obviously) SO FOR POSSESSING THIS GOLDING QUALITIES, I FEEL CONFIDENT INTRODUCING YOU TO ANOTHER BUSINESS FROM WHERE YOU WILL NOT ONLY RECOUP YOUR INVESTMENTS IN THE PREVIOUS SUSPENDED TRANSACTION, BUT WILL BENEFIT IMMEDIATELY FROM BY VIRTUE OF MY POSITION. I WAS APPROACHED BY MRS JUMAI GWARZO, THE WIFE OF MY FRIEND ALHAJI ISMAILA GWARZO, THE FORMER CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER OF OUR LATE HEAD OF STATE, GEN. SANI ABACHA WHO IS PRESENTLY UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN FINANCIAL CRIME/LOOTING OF GOVERNMENT TREASURY. SHE INFORMED ME OF SOME HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY AMOUNTING TO SIXTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$60,000,000.00) CASH LODGED IN A SECURITY COMPANY FOR SAFE KEEPING PENDING THE RELEASE OF HER HUSBAND. (Ah Dr Usman, you are starting to sound a little dodgy...) SHE SAID THE MONEY WAS PART OF WHAT HER HUSBAND MADE WHEN HE WAS THE CHIEF SECURITY/FINANCIAL ADVISER TO OUR LATE HEAD OF STATE. AFTER HER LAST DISCUSSION WITH HER HUSBAND ALHAJI GWARZO, SHE WAS INSTRUCTED TO CONTACT ME TO USE MY OFFICE TO ASSIST HER LOOK FOR A RELIABLE/TRUSTWORTHY PERSON WHO WILL PROVIDE AN ACCOUNT AND COLLECT THE CASH FOR ME. I FIND IT PERTINENT TO INVOLVE YOU BECAUSE FOR YOU TO HAVE AGREED TO THE OTHER BUSINESS, WHICH YOU HAVE LOST SO MUCH MONEY, TIME AND ENERGY, THIS IS A WAY TO RECOVER WHAT YOU HAVE SPENT. (...very dodgy...) I ASKED HER THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE TRANSACTION, WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AND WHAT NOT. SHE SAID THAT YOU WOULD BE REQUIRED TO VISIT THE SECURITY COMPANY WHERE THE MONEY IS, TO OPEN A NON-RESIDENTIAL ACCOUNT THROUGH WHICH THE MONEY WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO YOUR OVERSEAS BANK ACCOUNT AND THAT WILL ALSO GIVE YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET HER FACE TO FACE TO DISCUSS OTHER FORMALITIES. SHE MADE ME UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS NO BUREAUCRACY AT ALL. SHE SAID THE TRANSACTION IS RISK FREE AND LESS EXPENSIVE. (...than?) THE ONLY EXPENSES SHE FORESEES ARE:

1). THE MONEY YO WILL USE IN OPENING AN ACCOUNT (Mmmm...?)
2). YOUR FLIGHT FARE TO WHERE THE MONEY IS

I AM WRITING THIS MESSAGE TO HELP OUT BECAUSE I AM AWARE OF YOUR FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS IN PURSUIT OF THE OVER-INVOICED CONTRACT SUM. THEREFORE, I WILL ADVICE YOU TO COLLECT THIS CASH. I WILL BE COMPENSATED BY THE GWARZO FAMILY. I ASKED HER AGAIN HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE TO CONCLUDE THE BUSINESS. SHE SAID AS SOON AS YOU INDICATE YOUR INTEREST EVERYTHING WILL BE OVER IN SEVEN (7) WORKING DAYS. (Don't bet on it, Shamsudeen me ol' son.)

PLEASE ENDEAVOUR TO REPLY VIA MY FAX NUMBER 234-1-7592995 ON RECEIPT OF THIS MESSAGE TO ENABLE ME TO NOTIFY HER. IF POSSIBLE, I WILL HOLD A TELEPHONE MEETING BETWEEN YOU AND HER TO DISCUSS SHARING MODALITIES. (Ah...modalities, at last I feel right at home.)

THANKS

DR SHAMSUDEEN D. USMAN

N/B MY OFFICE IS NOT AWARE OF THIS, SO KEEP IT HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL, FOR MY SAKE. (Not a word...)


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