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One day our firm received a letter with a most unusual message:


DEAR SIR

URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL
IT IS WITH TRUST AND CONFIDENCE THAT I MAKE THIS URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL TO YOU. I AM A SENIOR ACCOUNTANT WITH THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION (NNPC) HERE IN LAGOS.

I HAVE BEEN ASSIGN BY MY COLLEGUES TO SEEK A FOREIGN PARTNER IN THE TRANSFER OF THE SUM OF US$30,000,000.00 (THIRTY MILLION U.S. DOLLARS ONLY). THIS MONEY AROSE BY THE DELIBERATE OVER INVOICING OF A PARTICULAR CONTRACT AWARDED BY MY CORPORATION IN 1993.


For some reason all Nigerians type in capitals. The letter goes on to offer me 30% of the money for providing the necessary assistance. Curious, I answered as follows:

Dear Dr Mbadiwe,

I hope I am not too late to help you.

I was given your letter by a business colleague who was not in a position to assist you and he felt that I may be able to offer a suitable avenue for your endeavours.

Unfortunately he had held your letter for some time before showing it to me; God grant that I am in time to help you.

The offer you propose is very attractive and, I must be honest, especially the money side of it. I assume that it is all legal.

Do you need credit references? Would three be enough?

You make no mention of requiring a surety. Should I send you a bond or deposit to show my good faith with the enterprise? If so, how much and how should I send it?

Yours sincerely, Murray Grey.


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