Friday, 5 December 2008

NIGERIAN INVESTORS OR INFESTORS?

By Gershom Ndhlovu

 

As soon as I learnt that President Rupiah Banda had travelled to Nigeria and wooed investors from there, I rushed to my Spam box and came up with this letter, lots of which I receive weekly in any case.

 

OFFICE OF THE SENATE HOUSE
FEDERAL REPUBLIC
OF NIGERIA
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN PAYMENT
(RESOLUTION PANEL ON CONTRACT PAYMENT)
IKOYI-LAGOS NIGERIA
Our Ref: FGN /SNT/STB

Your Ref.

THIS IS TO OFFICIALLY INFORM YOU THAT WE HAVE VERIFIED YOUR INHERITANCE FILE AND FOUND OUT THAT WHY YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED YOUR PAYMENT IS BECAUSE
YOU HAVE NOT FULFILLED THE OBLIGATIONS GIVEN TO YOU IN RESPECT OF YOUR CONTRACT/INHERITANCE PAYMENT.

SECONDLY WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT YOU ARE STILL DEALING WITH THE NONE OFFICIALS IN THE BANK YOUR ENTIRE ATTEMPT TO SECURE THE RELEASE OF THE FUND TO YOU. WE WISH TO ADVISE YOU THAT SUCH AN ILLEGAL ACT LIKE THESE HAVE TO STOP IF YOU WISH TO RECEIVE YOUR PAYMENT SINCE WE HAVE DECIDED TO BRING A SOLUTION TO YOUR PROBLEM.

RIGHT NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED YOUR PAYMENT THROUGH OUR
SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTER ASIA PACIFIC THAT IS THE LATEST INSTRUCTION FROM MR. PRESIDENT, UMARU YAR'ADUA (GCFR) FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND FBI.

THIS
CARD CENTER WILL SEND YOU AN ATM CARD WHICH YOU WILL USE TO WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY IN ANY ATM MACHINE IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, BUT THE MAXIMUM IS
FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER DAY, SO IF YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND THIS WAY PLEASE LET US KNOW BY CONTACTING THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY
FUNDS
DEPARTMENT CARD PAYMENT CENTER
.

AND ALSO SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: TO ATM SWIFT CARD REMITTANCE CENTER MR. MCFERRIN  PHOENIX FOR CLAIMS.

1. YOUR FULL NAME:
2. PHONE AND FAX NUMBER:
3. ADDRESS WERE YOU WANT THEM TO SEND THE ATM CARD:
4. YOUR AGE AND CURRENT OCCUPATION
5.YOU COUNTRY

ATM SWIFT CARD REMITTANCE CENTER
MR. MCFERRIN PHOENIX
EMAIL ADDRESS; paymentcenteratmcardoffice@yahoo.com.hk

THE ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTER HAS BEEN MANDATED TO ISSUE OUT {800,000.00USD} AS PART PAYMENT FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR 2008.

ALSO FOR YOUR INFORMATION, YOU HAVE TO STOP ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANY OTHER PERSON(S) OR OFFICE(S) TO AVOID ANY HITCHES IN RECEIVING YOUR
PAYMENT.FOR ORAL DISCUSSION, EMAIL ME BACK AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THIS IMPORTANT MESSAGE OR FURTHER DIRECTION AND ALSO UPDATE ME ON ANY DEVELOPMENT FROM THE ABOVE-MENTIONED OFFICE.
NOTE: THAT BECAUSE OF IMPOSTORS, WE HEREBY ISSUED YOU OUR CODE OF CONDUCT, WHICH IS (ATM-822) SO YOU HAVE TO INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN CONTACTING THE CARD CENTER BY USING IT AS YOUR SUBJECT.

KINDEST REGARDS,
MR.DAVID MARK.
SENATE PRESIDENT.

 

It is not my intention to bring in the name of Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a man I admire for the stand he has taken in cleaning up Nigerian society, dented as the most corrupt not only on the continent of Africa, but the world over.

It is, however, my intention to warn the Zambian government that as it tries to woo Nigerian investors, it should be mindful of the fact that there is great potential that Nigerian crooks situated all over the world, could seize Zambia’s desperation for investors as an opportunity to use the country as a money launderers’ playground.

While not saying that all Nigerians are crooks, governments around the world warn their citizens of what has come to be known as “Decree 419” scams in which people, particularly in the West, are targeted with prospects similar to the letter above, juicy investments that are in reality, non-existent or simply lotteries for which people are informed they have won when they never even entered them.

I do not know how strong Zambia’s monitoring capacity for laundered money is, but it should be particularly sensitive on investment coming from Nigeria as sources for those funds could be dubious.

According to one website on crimes of persuasion, schemes, scams and fraud: “Indications are that this advance fee fraud grosses hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the losses are continuing to escalate. The large sums involved in financial criminal activity in Nigeria have resulted in a situation where criminals are better funded than the law enforcement agencies.

“The Nigerian Government blames the growing problem on mass unemployment, extended family systems, a get rich quick syndrome, and, especially, the greed of foreigners.”

The best the Zambian government can do, instead of a desperate search for investors even from countries where citizens are not very straight-forward in their dealings in most of the things, is to try and harness local capital. Who does not know that well known and established local investors like Enoch Kavindele, a former vice-president for that matter, are treated like lepers?

Even as I concluded this article, I received another letter from one Mr Umaru Aziz claiming to be from the African Development Bank offering to channel US$15 million belonging to a Jordanian into my account and share the funds once they are secure.

Are these the type of investors we want? I doubt it.

Zamtel seems to be tottering on the brink of collapse. The simple reason is that it operates in analogue mode, literary.

Zamtel does not seem to be changing with times by switching to digital mode to which other similar service providers are have switched to or are switching to. The government supported phone service provider wants to stick to the point-to-point service while treating the mobile service as a mere side bar.

With its infrastructure, Zamtel could vigorously join the fray in the provision of television services in areas not yet reached by ZNBC and MNET. Similarly, it could make internet service provision a strong business point, again with the background that it has reach in Kaputa, Shangombo and Chavuma.

But even with its CellZ service, UK mobile phone users have difficulties texting CellZ customers unless they are Orange phone service users. Orange itself cannot be compared to big service providers such as O2, Vodafone and Virgin.

Mr Mukela Muyunda, Zamtel acting CEO, please think about some of these things otherwise your company will still be existing in the 1950s mode when we are hurtling towards the mid-2000s with advanced information and communication technologies.

 

6 comments:

Nigerian Entrepreneur said...

Every country has her own black sheep. While it is true that scammers who are Nigerian by citizenship are notorious in the international business world, it should be noted that there are many SINCERE, HONEST and INDUSTRIOUS Nigerians who earn their living by doing legitimate business.

If such decides to invest in Zambia, they should be welcomed and not classified as "crooks" just because they are Nigerian by birth.

By the way, I do receive a lot of SCAM letters too because of my activities online. Here is a sample SCAM LETTER However, many of them are from outside Nigeria (Asians to be specific)

Nice post. You may wish to educate your readers to investigate would-be Nigerian investors by reading this article How To Protect Yourself From Fraudsters It gives hints of what steps could be taken by an entrepreneur to prevent being defrauded.

I got here from Afrigator. Nice job you are doing here. Proudly African. Cheers.

MrK said...

Nigerian Entrepreneur,

I completely agree. There are enough non-Nigerian crooks (Faustin Kabwe, Xavier Chungu) to start worrying about Nigerian entrepreneurs with good track records doing business, credit history, etc.

What we should really worry about is the Zambian government's hunt for foreign investors, at the detriment to local investors and entrepreneurs. Even as the theory of neoliberalism is crashing almost as fast as the economies it has brought down, the MMD leadership (and I suspect UPND and PF leadership) are still clinging to it's prescriptions - foreign direct investment, foreign ownership of the economy, 'free markets', etc. It is as if Zambian leadership, like the US Republican party, cannot adjust to changing circumstances.

And that, even as the American government is taking over banks and instituting works projects and printing money to invest in it's infrastructure.

That is the real danger to Zambia.

Anonymous said...

Your concern should be given due consideration. The story of the Nigerian crooks are well told in the novel "Mugu Hunters". However, they are decent Businesmen and woman in Nigeria just as they are crooks in other countries as well. We should not throw the child away with the birth water just because the midwife was a dirthy bad woman. Look at the positive side and wellcome every potential investor. Zambia needss them all.

MrK said...

Anonymous,

My point was simply that good business people are good business people, Nigerian or otherwise. It wasn't intended to be perceived as support for the concept of foreign investment - I just want to point that out.

Foreign ownership of the economy means that you are exporting profits, and with it the future of today's youth.

Unrestricted profits made by foreign companies in Zambia mean that is money that will not be reinvested in other businesses.

So other than some strategic industries where you REALLY can't find Zambians to do the job, ok.

But we really need to put the major emphasis on Zambian entrepreneurs, farmers and investors. Let's see successful local businesses reinvest their profits in other businesses in Zambia. And let's have a government that will support them any way it can - legislatively, financially, etc.

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