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Steve Thompson, Thommo to his mates, is a regular sort of Aussie bloke. One day he gets an email:

From: Julius Emade,

Dear friend,

My greetings to you and your family and i hope this letter meets you in good health. i am Julius Emade, aide to the late president Mobutu sese-seko of Zaire now known as democratic republic of Congo (DRC). I am writing to you in good faith based on your profile i received from the chamber of commerce in south Africa. (Struth!)

I am moved to write you this letter in confidence considering my present circumstance and situation as a war refugee here in south Africa. few weeks before the late president Mobutu sese-seko was forced out of power, i was instructed by him to make available the sum of us$22million which was to be transferred abroad and lodged with a security company for safe keeping disclosed as family valuables in my name pending further instructions. two weeks later on may 16 1997, president Mobutu sese-seko gave up power to the rebels led by Laurent kabila, who were advancing from kisingani and fled to togo from where he later moved to morocco where he died on September 7, 1997 less than four months after he was forced out of power. he was aged 66 years. i managed to escape to south Africa with my son Patrice, aged 17 where i am presently residing as a war refugee shortly after the capital city Kinshasha was over run over by rebels. i lost my wife and my two children, and all my possessions during the rebel onslaught on the capital city.

Just an observation, Julius - for a race of people who have seldom recognised the existance of lower case letters you are doing much to redress the imbalance.

The late Mobutu sese-seko during his 30 year rule amassed a personal fortune of us$8 billion with houses in Switzerland and France. however, the incumbent president Laurent kabila made arrangements with the Swiss government and other European countries to freeze all his assets and confiscate his properties. i thus decided to lie low in Africa to study the situation, until when things get better like now that president Laurent kabila is dead and his son Joseph kabila has taken over.

I have been in touch with the security company abroad where the money is still lodged as family valuables. the funds are security coded to prevent them from knowing the content. what i want you to do is to indicate your interest that you will assist me by receiving the money on my behalf. acknowledge this message so that i can give you the modalities (Oh, modalities! Why didn't you say so?) for the claim of the funds. may i at this point emphasize the high level of confidentiality which this business demands, and hope you will not betray the trust and confidence whch i have reposed in you.

If you want to assist, i shall put you in the picture of the business, tell you where the funds are currently beign maintained and also discuss other modalities including remuneration for your services. i am willing to give you a reasonable percentage of the money as soon as the transaction is concluded.

Kindly furnish me your contact information, which is your personal telephone and fax numbers.

Yours sincerely,

Julius Emade.

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