31 DEC 2004
EFCC Commissioner Nuhu Ribadu selected as
Man of the Year by ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
Nuhu Ribadu: The Anti-Corruption Czar
By Simon Kolawole, 12.31.2004
Nuhu Ribadu is vindictive. Nuhu Ribadu is being used by President Olusegun Obasanjo to
witch-hunt the president's political opponents. Nuhu Ribadu does selective justice. Nuhu
Ribadu talks too much. Nuhu Ribadu grandstands. Nuhu Ribadu is power-drunk. Nuhu Ribadu
has bitten more than he can chew. Nuhu Ribadu this. Nuhu Ribadu that.
That is just one side of the story, the unpleasant side of the story, depending on whether you
have been pinched by the claws of the Octopus called Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC), headed by Nuhu Ribadu, an Assistant Police Commissioner who is the
Executive Chairman of the Commission.
The pleasant part of the story is that Ribadu has inspired the commission to a height that could
make Major-Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon (late) envious, given their own
spirited battle against corruption and indiscipline when they sat on the seat of power in 1984-85.
Theirs was called War Against Indiscipline (WAI). Despite all their excesses, Buhari and
Idiagbon are still recognised for making efforts to sweep corruption and other forms of
indiscipline out of the nation's terrain.
The EFCC is saddled with the responsibility of fighting battles that even angels will tactically
dodge. In a country where corruption is the major employer of labour, it takes a large injection of
courage to stand out and be counted as an anti-corruption crusader. Ribadu is heavily injected
with courage, perhaps an overdose of it, and he is suicidally wearing a battle gear against 419,
bank frauds, fraud in the petroleum sector, pipeline vandalisation and money laundering
among several other children and grandchildren of corruption.
He knows that too well. A devout Muslim, he readily admits that if it is the will of Allah that he
should be consumed by this anti-corruption war, so be it. From Allah he came, and to Allah he
shall return. "Believe me, I’m not afraid of death. I’ve got so many death threats. I am not
bothered. I just checked my e-mail now and I received a threat mail from a Nigerian fraudster
based in Germany. We just blocked a 419 deal he wanted to seal. He's furious. He said he is
monitoring my movement, that he would deal with me. Of course, I just smiled. I get a lot of such
letters everyday. I'm not worried at all," he once told this writer in an informal chat.
What makes the Ribadu story pleasing to the ear is that he is not a typical police officer. In fact,
he had a rough battle with the police hierarchy when he was appointed chairman of EFCC. Their
anger stemmed from the fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed a 'junior' officer to
head the commission. The position, they argued, was for a person with rank of Commissioner of
Police. But Obasanjo stuck to his gun. He had heard a lot about the integrity of this particular
police officer in a country where police officers and integrity don't mix as a matter of principle.
Obasanjo had done his own surveillance gathering and was bent on scoring a vital goal with
Many were of the opinion that the police hierarchy did not like Ribadu's appointment, not
because he was not qualified, but because of the billions of naira involved in the anti-corruption
business. It was too juicy a job to hand over to a very young man, who was just hovering around
40 years of age then.
Fighting 419 was a very lucrative business in the past. Many Inspectors-General of Police had
fed fat on the scams. There was an IGP who used to give police protection to 419 kingpins. The
story goes that one day, an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) was having a meeting
with this IGP in question when a notorious 419 kingpin came in. The IGP told the AIG to 'please
excuse us'. The AIG was so furious that as soon as he was appointed IGP, his first duty was to
get the fraudster arrested and detained throughout his tenure. Such was the decay in the police
The official support and protection given to the fraudsters did sufficient damage to the image of
Nigeria. The international community treated Nigerians with contempt, and when it came to
business matters, they would not want to touch Nigerians with a long cable. The reproach was
To make matters worse, the 419 kingpins were walking the streets as kings. They were openly
celebrating their ill-gotten wealth. They were getting chieftaincy titles and granting press
interviews. As soon as Ribadu came into office, he rounded them up. Many of them have been
languishing in jail on court orders, and they have been fighting for their fundamental human
rights since then.
Ribadu has fought wars with foreigners who evade taxes and duties despite the billions they
made from the Nigerian economy. He has engaged fuel smugglers in a war on the borderline.
He has taken on his own people like Alhaji Mohammed Bulama, the Managing Director of Bank
of the North, who must have thought that the Arewa spirit would bless him with some protection.
Those who accuse Ribadu of being used for political ends point directly to the case involving
Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State. Many believe that it was because the president
wanted to deal with the embattled governor that the EFCC has taken over the case. However,
one point that cannot be discounted is that the Metropolitan Police of London wrote him and
detailed all the allegations of financial misdeeds against the governor. Should the EFCC fold its
arms and go to sleep after receiving such a report? Even though, EFCC does not have the
power to try a constitutionally-protected governor but by trying the governor's co-conspirators
who do not have immunity, Ribadu may be scoring an even bigger point. It will serve as a
landmark in the anti-corruption fight.
Indeed, Ribadu is a shinning example. No matter his perceived imperfections, he stands out for
daring to take up a dogged fight against corruption. Not many Nigerians can be counted as
standing tall in integrity, but his slender frame houses both integrity and courage. And since
these are very scarce qualities in Nigeria, Ribadu has clearly made a name for himself. And
that is why he has been selected as THISDAY Man of The Year which just ended.
419 Coalition Note: 419 Coalition would like to congratulate Commissioner
Ribadu on his selection as ThisDay Man of the Year. He is genuinely
doing his best to bring down the 419ers, and that takes immense skill,
courage, and perseverance. Mr. Ribadu is a true patriot and is Making
a Difference for all Nigerians, at home and abroad. We often think of Mr.
Ribadu as Nigeria's Eliot Ness. We thank the EFCC team and Mr. Ribadu
for their efforts, and we applaud ThisDay for its selection of Commissioner
Ribadu as Man of the Year.
31 DEC 2004
From Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper:
FCT police boss blasts 419 victims, says they are greedy
By Kingsley Omonobi
Friday, December 31, 2004
ABUJA: THE Commissioner of police in the Federal Capital, Abuja, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo
yesterday lambasted victims of advanced fee fraud, saying their greed more than anything
else usually makes them easy targets. "It is a pity, but 419 victims are those who want to
become rich overnight. Any hard working person who is satisfied with his earnings would not
easily get deceived by these fraudsters except he has greed in his system." (the rest of the
article is not related to 419 matters).
419 Coalition Note: Of course, for these people to be 419 victims they
must FIRST be targeted by the greedy, criminal 419ers. Yes, it sure is
a pity that these greedy, criminal 419ers are not satisfied with their
earnings from legitimate pursuits and want to become rich overnight
by stealing from those who Have worked hard, and legitimately, for
the monies that they lose.
Additionally, in many cases of goods and services 419, the targets
have merely made the mistake of extending credit to, or of doing a
favor for, their apparently above-board Nigerian business counterpart.
Cases of Cashier's Check 419 and Charitable Organization 419 are
often like this, for example.
In short, we hope that Commissioner Adebayo's remarks were
misquoted, or were taken out of context, as he really can't be such
an idiot about 419 matters as his remarks make him out to be. And
even if he were, and did actually say what he allegedly said, 419
Coalition would like to point out that Greed, in itself, is generally
not illegal, but Stealing Is. Therefore Commissioner Adebayo
had better start arresting and convicting 419ers in his jurisdiction --
not One has been convicted in recent years -- before he runs off
at the mouth and makes silly generalizations about 419 victims.
Now That would be a productive use of the man's time.
27 DEC 2004
Credited to "Mid-Day" from Naijanet.com:
Mumbai, India: Two Nigerian scamsters debarred
By Vinod Kumar Menon
The Mumbai police took stern action against two Nigerian nationals on Friday by applying
‘persona non grata’ and thereby banned their entry into the country forever.
The men, identified as Ngozi Alexander Achiliho (30) and Joseph Iroka (35), were sent back to
their country on Friday evening.
The duo would cheat people by sending them emails stating that someone had died in an
accident leaving behind a huge sum in his savings account. And since the deceased shared
the same surname as that of the victim, he was entitled to the sum.
Another method adopted by them was to pose as representatives of the United Nations and
assure US $10 million against $7,000.
The victims would be assured of receiving the money through courier and asked to collect the
trunk from the airport cargo section after receiving the US $7,000 from them.
The trunk would contain ‘anti breeze’ paper bundles (a term used by the culprits) covered with
black powder, which they said was done to disguise the dollar notes to prevent African terrorists
from learning about the huge sum.
The police found two laptops, six mobile phones and telephone diaries of their victims in their
According to a police officer supervising the operation, necessary instructions have been given
to all the concerned immigration centres about the ban on their entry.
Stern action has been taken against the duo on account of increase in cases of innocent
people being duped by Nigerians and other African nationals in our country after being lured by
promises of untold wealth.
The Bandra crime branch unit 9 had arrested two Nigerians a few months ago in a similar case.
The duo, Harrison Edward and Peter Johnson, had duped a businessman Deepesh Goel (34)
from Rajkot to the tune of over Rs 5 lakh.
The police have requested the public to come forward and register a complaint against such
Also, they have cautioned people from getting carried away by such false promises and
assurances of easy wealth.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
20 DEC 2004
We were just made aware of these two news pieces from
KGO-TV/DT ABC Channel 7 which serves San Francisco,
Oakland, and San Jose. They were aired 26 MAY 2004.
We thought they were excellent pieces! So we're putting
them up - as they are just as cautionary now as they were
Bay Area Couple Swindled By Nigerian Email Scam
The I-Team Investigates (ABC7)
If you use e-mail, you've probably seen the spam - a wealthy Nigerian family needs your help,
and in return, you'll receive a share of their fortune. That scam and others like it are bringing in
hundreds of millions of dollars a year world-wide. We've found victims in the Bay Area. Dan
Noyes has this I-Team investigation.
An elderly couple from San Jose got dragged into this scam by a local college professor.
They've lost more than $700,000. They're broke, and are being kicked out of the home they
used to own.
This man had a long career as a typesetter at the San Jose Mercury News. In 1970, he bought a
house on a double-lot in a nice neighborhood for $25,000. He was set for life. What's happening
now is so painful and embarrassing, he doesn't want us to show his face or use his name. He's
deaf, so we spoke with him through a sign language interpreter.
Victim: "That money just went so fast, and I didn't realize I was in danger of losing the house."
His problems began when a friend from the Deaf Studies Center at Ohlone College came to him
with what seemed to be the chance of a lifetime. Professor Brian Malzkuhn had an e-mail from
the family of Sani Abacha. It's true that the Nigerian dictator looted more than four billion dollars
from the government and sent it to overseas banks, before he died in 1998. The scam - his
surviving family needed help retrieving the money.
John Schachnovsky, FBI White Collar Crime Squad: "I know a lot of people say, 'Why are
people falling for this?' But, it's no question. People want free money, the prospect of free
money and large amounts of money. The lottery's a very successful thing in this country and
there's a reason for that."
All the San Jose man had to do was send the Abacha family some money - an advance, to
help them deal with the overseas banks. In return, he would receive $68 million. So, Malzkuhn
helped the man and his wife mortgage their home, and refinance it several times.
Victim: ""I made a big, big mistake borrowing that money. That was one big mistake taking that
Even after the couple sent more than $700,000, Malzkuhn and the Nigerians came back for
more - just $19,500 to finish the deal. The professor e-mailed the couple, "Wowow, this one is for
real! I will keep you posted. Thanks for the nice visit. Praise the Lord and God be with us
always, and God bless us indeed! Hugs, Brian."
Victim: "Brian asked me if I had faith in God, and God is going to bring the money."
The couple was tapped out, so Malzkuhn asked their neighbor for the $19,500.
Mike McMahon, neighbor: ""He just kept pushing it and pushing it until he knew I wasn't gonna
buy into it, and he got frustrated and walked out."
We tried to ask Brian Malzkuhn about all this, but he's been very difficult to track down. We left
messages at his home, his work, and sent him e-mails. We finally reached him by phone, but
Malzkuhn wouldn't answer any questions about the Nigerians or the money. He would only say,
"I love the (couple). I would never hurt them." After that conversation, he e-mailed the husband
and wife, "Please fax (Channel 7) telling them to get off our backs, not to interview with you or me
ever, because nothing is definite. We shall prevail!"
Victim: "Yes, I trusted him, he kept telling me that everything would be okay, I believed him."
But now, the husband and wife are in serious trouble. They haven't made their $5,000 a month
mortgage payment in a year, and the bank is foreclosing.
Stephen Gibbons, Santa Clara County Economic Crimes Unit: ""They're really the type of victim
that in law enforcement we're most concerned about, because they can't protect themselves."
This Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney says Brian Malzkuhn is under investigation
by the Economic Crimes Unit, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service. Possible charges include
financial elder abuse and theft.
Gibbons: "If they provide, knowingly provide false information to an investor or a person to get
their money, they lie to a person to get their money, that could be theft by false pretenses."
But, Gibbons says Malzkuhn told investigators he also got scammed by the Nigerians ... and, if
he didn't keep any of the couple's money, he won't be prosecuted. The couple's last resort
would be to sue Malzkuhn to try and recoup some of their losses. They don't seem to have the
strength for that, and the pressure is building.
Victim: "I don't have a gun, but I'll wait and I'll buy a gun. And I'll have it at the ready."
The husband's talking about killing himself. Malzkuhn's convinced him the $68 million is coming,
but the Nigerians keep missing deadlines as recently as two days ago.
Victim: "It's better to die and just die in peace without people on my back all the time. If you're
dead you can't feel somebody on you all the time, it's like too bad, sorry, just forget it."
McMahon: "He really believes the money's coming. He thinks his best friend's gonna help him
through it, and his best friend happens to be Brian. And that's gonna be sad, just to see this guy
and his wife be escorted out by the sheriffs when all this could have been stopped years ago."
Clearly, this has reached a crisis point. Adult Protective Services went by to check on the
couple - the situation is stable, at this point. The couple appeared in bankruptcy court today and
the judge gave them some breathing room -- until September 1st to sell the home, or face
This may seem like an obvious scam to you, but all sorts of educated people are getting taken
- CEOs, priests, even police officers. We spoke with one doctor in Modesto who just lost
$800,000 to the scam. Tonight at 11, we go to London where we set up a meeting with con artists
who offered me $46 million. Scotland Yard is also on the case.
[419 Coalition Note: Part 2 of the Story follows:]
I-Team Tracks Nigerian Email Scam To London
Scams are spreading like wildfire across the internet. Con men and women are raking in
hundreds of millions of dollars a year world-wide, and we've found several Northern
Californians who've lost big money. Dan Noyes tracked one scam from here, to Africa, and to
We all know the expression about a fool and his money. But, all sorts of people are falling for
these scams - CEOs, doctors, even police officers. We wanted to find out what it is that's
attracting people. Our search took us to Scotland Yard.
If you use e-mail, you've seen the scams. Kingsley Seko from Zimbabwe wants me to help hide
$9.5 million lars from a corrupt government - I can keep 30 percent. Kizie Mulumba of South
Africa asks me to pose as the next of kin to a rich, deceased businessman and claim $25
million - my take, 40 percent. Before he dies of esophageal cancer, Ibrahim Gawish from Dubai
wants to give me $27 million to donate to charity - I get 10 percent. He even sent pictures from
his death bed.
John Schachnovsky, FBI White Collar Crime Squad: "Really, even though they sound all
different, it's all the same basic scam. You need to send us money, you have to give us your
bank account for us to give you more money." [419 Coalition Note: Of course, this agent has
things a bit wrong or has been misunderstood, as most 419 fraud is Advance Fee Fraud, where
the targets Voluntarily send their money to the 419ers - as in This case. It is, however, a
persistent myth that the primary purpose of the 419ers is to get the number etc. of a target's bank
accounts and then reach in and empty them. Early on in 419 matters some official or other got
things muddled up and described 419 operations that way, and the canard has been repeated
ever since (sigh) giving people the wrong idea of how 419 scams operate. Once again, that is
not how 419 works. The reason the 419ers ask for banking information etc. from the targets is
primarily to build Faith in the mind of the target that monies will indeed be sent into the account.
Hence, it is more of a confidence-building thing than anything else. 419ers count on people
being willing to empty their bank accounts by Themselves - the 419ers as a rule do Not reach
into people's accounts and empty them. Most 419 is Advance Fee Fraud.]
One San Jose man sent more than $700,000 to Nigeria. He's losing the home he's owned for 34
years. He's so embarrassed, he doesn't want us to show his face or use his name. He's deaf,
so we spoke with him through an interpreter.
Victim: "The Nigerians, I don't know if they ripped off my money, but they keep trying to get more
and more fees. I don't know, I can't explain it."
Glen Colvin, U.S. Secret Service: "We've had CEOs of companies actually been defrauded
and lost their jobs. We've had priests, we've had the whole gamut, I mean doctors, lawyers."
As part of our research, the I-Team began responding to the scam spam, including this one
from a private investigator in London. He wrote that a 19-year-old girl from the Ivory Coast of
Africa needs help investing the $45.6 million her father sealed in two trunks, before he was
poisoned. Then, the girl named Grace sent us an e-mail with a picture, saying, "I can't wait to
come and start living with you, Dad."
Schachnovsky: "A child, who lost their parents, who lost their mother, I can help this child, and at
the same time, I can be rich, wow, this is a win-win for me."
Next came a flood of phone calls. The private investigator urged me to stay in touch with Grace.
Philip Browne:: "You're supposed to e-mail her often to see, to ask her how she's faring about
Dan Noyes: "Oh, okay."
Browne: "Cause she's in a very, very difficult situation, you know?"
And, I received a contract by fax from Grace's law firm, Mohammed Kuri and Ass. It was official,
"The sum of $45,600,000" would be mine. The lawyer sent a copy of his passport, and the
father's death certificate. Then, his associate in Germany told me the treasure chests had been
moved from the Ivory Coast to London, and I would have to pay the freight charges.
Bernadette Rosenberg: "You'd have to bring along 7,500 pounds."
That’s about $13,500 American dollars.
Dan Noyes: "And they couldn't take that money out of what's in the boxes?"
Rosenberg: "No, the boxes are sealed."
Finally, the lawyer called with big news - Grace was leaving the Ivory Coast to meet me in
Mohammed Kuri: "We're all in this together."
That offer was hard to refuse, and we wanted to show you how the scam works. So, we agreed
to meet Grace and her people here in London.
Vas Gopinathan, detective, Scotland Yard: "My advice would be that you don't get something
Scotland Yard has seen the treasure chest scam before, they confiscated one in a bust just
three months ago. It's filled with phony hundred-dollar bills with the word "copy" stamped in pink.
The chemicals in this bottle make the pink disappear.
Robert Brandon, detective, Scotland Yard: "The only thing you need is to pay for chemicals.
But, the bottle of chemical is $60,000."
Scotland Yard asked us to delay our meeting with Grace and her lawyer, they wanted to set up
a sting. We agreed, and did a little leg work. The addresses used on the correspondence were
fake, the numbers came from disposable cell phones, and the e-mail accounts could be
accessed from any internet café across London.
Gopinathan: "They are very, very slick. Something about them, they constantly adapt their
method to try and encourage more victims to come into their system."
But the scam artists did not like us changing their plans. They kept me on the phone for hours,
arguing with me.
Kuri: "You're not doing it the right way. You're, you, you didn't keep up to the appointment and
you came at your own time, and you're not gonna do things your own way."
Grace's "lawyer" wasn't happy with me. He told me I would have to return to London in two
weeks and he's still calling me. Scotland Yard warned me this is no harmless scam - money
from this con often funds the trafficking of drugs and people. Americans have disappeared,
been kidnapped and murdered. After they've gone to London or Africa to meet these people
face to face.
Here are links to the two pieces so long as they are good.
You can even watch the pieces online if you wish:
23 NOV 2004
From The Punch, a NIgerian newspaper:
EFCC recovers N20bn from fraudsters
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has recovered over N20billion from
fraudsters across the country since its inception in 2003.
Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, stated this on Monday in Abuja, while
defending the commission's 2005 budget estimates before the Senate Committee on Drugs,
Narcotics and Financial Crimes.
According to him, the EFCC currently has over 100 criminal cases involving over 300 suspects
pending in different courts within the country, adding, however, that financial constraints
on the part of the commission had slowed down the prosecution of the cases.
419 Coalition note: However, to date EFCC has convicted NO 419ers
and we know of NO instance where the recovered monies have been
returned to the victims. Additionally, in the one case where Government
of Nigeria announced years ago that it had recovered and would return
the stolen monies to a specific victim, the Ghasemi case, no monies
have been returned to the victim to date. The failure of Central Bank of
Nigeria to return the Ghasemi's recovered money after making a big
public to-do about how it was recovered and would be returned
has largely deprived the Nigerian Government of any credibility
it seeks in recovery and repatration of 419ed monies.
18 NOV 2004
From Wire 2004 as posted on Naijanet.com:
Nigerian scam uses FBI letterhead
Unsolicited letters from Nigeria were sent to U.S. businesses using FBI letterhead as part of a
fraud scheme, the FBI warned Wednesday.
The letters, or sometimes e-mails, appear to come from one or more non-existing entities and
are entitled Memo on Debt Payment, the bureau said. The letters say a group called the Debt
Settlement Panel is the approved paying office in Nigeria and encourage individuals to deal
exclusively with that office.
The FBI said while most recognize these letters as obvious forgeries, others lose millions of
dollars through such schemes each year.
The letters perpetrate a scam that has been on the Internet for years, combining the threats of
impersonation fraud and identity theft.
A letter or e-mail offers the recipient the opportunity to share in a percentage of millions of
dollars that the author, a self proclaimed government official, is trying to transfer illegally out of
The FBI urged anyone who receives such a request to contact a local FBI field office.
9 NOV 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Crimes commission is illegal, Ajayi tells court
By Mustapha Ogunsakin, Senior Judicial Reporter
LAST week when he appeared as counsel to Chief Emmanuel Nwude, a suspect in Nigeria's
biggest fraud case, Chief G.O.K. Ajayi (SAN) sought for time to study the charges against his
But when he returned yesterday to the Ikeja High Court in Lagos, Ajayi filed a motion, asking the
court to declare the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as illegal.
Nwude alongside Mrs. Amaka Anajemba and Chief Nzeribe Okoli are on trial, for allegedly
swindling a Brazilian bank of N36 billion.
The case is being heard by Justice Olusanmi Oyewole, who adjourned the matter till yesterday
following Ajayi's pleas.
Prior to Chief Ajayi's coming into the case, the trial had commenced and several witnesses
gave evidence on how the monies were routed through several banks into Nigeria.
The suspects had entered into a "place bargaining" whereby they will refund the money for
freedom. This was not allowed as the court declared on October 18, 2004 that "plea
bargaining" was not known to the Criminal Procedure Laws.
When the court sat yesterday, Ajayi served it a motion on notice, seeking to strike out the
changes against the accused persons because the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission Establishment Act (2002) and all measures taken and things done pursuant thereto
by all of the commission were unconstitutional null and void for inconsistency with and violation
of Section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
The National Assembly, Ajayi argued, lacked the constitutional powers to enact the EFCC Act
and the same and all acts and things done pursuant to the same by all officers, functionaries of
the commission appointed thereby were unconstitutional, null and void.
He referred to section 214 of the Constitution, which established the Nigeria Police Force, while
section four of the Police Act set out the powers of the Nigeria Police. "I submit that it is not
possible to establish another body with the same powers reserved for the police, thereby
circumventing them," he argued.
Ajayi insisted that only the police had powers to investigate and prosecute crimes.
The offences for which the suspects were facing trial were under the state laws and that getting
the Lagos State Attorney-General's fiat to prosecute them was symptomatic of the arrogance of
the Federal Government in its dealings with other component parts that make up the federation.
"No federal agency can impose any duty on a state agency," he stated.
The lawyers also cited sections 18 and 19 of the EFCC Act, and submitted that it was a slight on
the Chief Judge of Lagos State for and "an unsavoury attempt to put undue pressure on a state
court that is not under the Federal Government," adding that it was an attempt to bye-pass the
constitution in a brazen manner.
Chief Ajayi therefore, submitted that in enacting the EFCC Act, the National Assembly acted ultra
vires, as it cannot set up another agency, as a parallel body to which the constitution had
He told the court that the issue it had to resolve was whether or not the EFCC as set up by the
Federal Government had not usurped the powers of the police; and whether the sum total of this
situation was a violation of section 214 of the Constitution.
The lawyer also took a swipe at some federal agencies, declaring them as abnormal.
Ajayi said: "All these are in effect, a violation of the people's rights. The National Judicial
Council (NJC) like other federal agencies is an anomaly. I wonder why the police were
regionalised at independence. I am sure that all our delegates to that conference will continue
to regret their decision in bringing the police under the central government."
"I therefore submit that the court should hold that the setting up of EFCC is a violation of the
constitution. If this Act is void, it follows that all things done by its officers are utterly void," he
Justice Oyewole later adjourned the case till tomorrow to allow the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi
Jacobs to reply.
419 Coalition Note: This story was also carried by Vanguard and other Nigerian
8 NOV 2004
From the Australian Assicated Press, sent in by
The Australian mastermind of a global Internet scam was today sentenced to at least four years
Nick Marinellis pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to 10 counts of fraud and one count of
perverting the course of justice over the so-called Nigerian or West African scam.
The ruse fleeced victims of AU$5 million.
Judge Barry Mahoney sentenced Marinellis to five years and three months jail with a non-
parole period of four years and four months.
The sentence will be backdated to October last year when the 40-year-old was first jailed.
Judge Mahoney said a significant sentence was needed to deter others from committing similar
"None of the matters are trivial and the modus operandi was complicated and devious," he
said. Marinellis will be eligible for release on February 28, 2008.
"The crime of fraud has been with mankind for a long time. This style of robbery is just a new
theft technique using a modern tool - the internet," said Rob Forsyth, managing director for
Sophos Australia and New Zealand.
"If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. With the increase of spam email, the old
adage of caveat emptor -- let the buyer beware -- should be written in bold across the top of
every computer screen."
"Sophos trusts that this substantial sentence delivers a clear message to all email fraudsters
that the law and technology, supported by consumer education, is fast closing in on them,"
419 Coalition Note: And were the Nigerian 419ers who started the whole
thing arrested or convicted of anything? Not that we know of. And are
they still enjoying the benefits of the stolen monies? We'd assume so.
7 NOV 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Nigerian 419 Wreck Lives In Australia
FROM NDAEYO UKO, CANBERRA
THE advanced free fraud, known here as the "Nigerian e-mail scam," is pushing its Australian
victims into jail and suicide.
A Melbourne High Court on Thursday sentenced a high-flying 58-year-old financial adviser,
Robert Street, to jail for five years and three months for handing Australian $1 million (N10
million) of his clients' money to a cunning 419 fraudsters, who gave his name as Reverend Sam
Earlier, in Cairns, the tropical northern city of the State of Queensland, another Australian had to
be talked out of jumping to his death by Queensland Police star negotiator, Inspector Tony
Montgomery Clark, after the 419 victim, who had lost his business, livelihood and relationships
decided to end his life.
With the rising profile of 419 victims and the increase in scam letters arriving in Australia, the
authorities are so worried that in pamphlets distributed to all Australian homes they included the
"Nigerian scam" as one of the social problems Australians should protect themselves from.
Nigeria's new High Commissioner to Australia, Dr Icha Ituma told The Guardian that the
Nigerian government had fought gallantly to check this fraud.
"The Economic and Financial Crime Commission is handling the matter strictly at home," he
said, adding, "in July or so more than 500 people were arrested."
When told that Nigerians in Australia were receiving complaints from Australians, Dr Ituma said
the high commission "receives more protests than anyone" and affirmed his efforts to inform the
host country that "anyone involved in this matter is fraudulent" and that Nigeria is doing its best
to defeat the scammers.
Informal statistics show that hundreds of Australians fall for the scam every month mostly
because, living on a faraway island, they care and know pretty little about the outside world. It is
the high profile victims and those who lose huge sums that get exposed.
Street, a financial whiz kid, who became a bank manager at the age of 30, had received a
substantial amount of money from clients for investments in high-tech devices that promised
returns of between 10 and 500 per cent, The Australian reported.
But he sent the money to his Nigerian scammer, paying as much as Australian $10,000 (N1
million) to send mobile phones to Nigeria.
"Considered objectively, your deceptive conduct appears deliberate and carefully considered
but you," the presiding judge, Tom Wodak said as he delivered a verdict that shattered the
financial adviser's future and Australian $3 million (N300 million) business.
The court heard the fictitious Reverend Kukah promised Street $US65 million (nearly N1 billion).
Security agencies have also identified local networks run by Australians within the country.
In the commercial capital, Sydney, a 39-year-old Australian was also charged with 17 offences
relating to a multi-million-dollar Internet scam based in Australia.
Agency reports quoted State police as saying that the arrest on Tuesday came after a four-
month investigation, and was the first arrest of a key Australian allegedly involved in the global
State Crime Command Assets Confiscation Unit (ACU) detectives arrested the Sydney man
during a search of a property at Nyngan in the State's central west. Police simultaneously
raided two homes in the city and police seized computers and documents.
ACU commander, Inspector Jennifer Thommeny said the "in the last six months, we've
probably tracked about $1.5 million."
Thommeny told reporters in Sydney that "this is really significant. We believe that this is the first
arrest of its kind in the world relating to an Australian connection."
Sydney-based international syndicate had targeted hundreds of victims in Australia and
The agency identified victims who have been approached in NSW, South Australia, Victoria,
Cyprus, Malaysia, Japan, Norway, Greece, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and England.
Authorities issued freeze orders on nine Sydney property, a UK property, and five vehicles.
Meaning they could not be sold, and could be confiscated if prosecutions were successful,
according to media reports.
Inspector Thommeny said the racket was relatively simple to set up, but that it was often difficult
to catch the culprits because the victims usually lived overseas.
"It's difficult to say whether we'll see an end to it, because it's all about people's gullibility," she
Many victims were so embarrassed about being fooled that they never reported the crime.
"Sometimes you will get someone that's really ill and down on their luck and they think, 'Oh my
God, it's a gift from heaven'," Inspector Thommeny said.
"It takes a very greedy, ruthless person to set up this scam, because it's very simple."
Some people realised their mistake after the first payment. Others kept handing over money,
even when fraudsters demanded further fees.
Dr Ituma said the failure of the media to "depict what the Nigerian government is doing" and to
represent the warnings Nigerian officials like himself had issued might be promoting ignorance
about the advance fee fraud.
419 Coalition Note: Somebody needs to inform Dr. Ituma that the
the Nigerian Economic Crimes Commission does not agree with
him that victims are criminals; and also that the EFCC, despite its
best efforts, has yet to obtain even One conviction of a 419er in
6 NOV 2004
From the New Zealand Herald:
Investors hit twice in scams, court told
Investors in a failed upmarket Parnell apartment development were the victims of two Nigerian-
type scams, a depositions hearing in the Auckland District Court was told yesterday.
In the first "advance fee fraud," as the Serious Fraud Office calls them, investors lost hundreds
of thousands of dollars when American fraudster Greg Dutcher promised he would lend money
for a housing scheme in St Stephens Ave, but investors had to put in money first.
After their money disappeared, they were told a rescue package was being put together.
But the SFO says they were stung again when it turned out to be another advance fee fraud - this
time a classic Nigerian scam in which investors lost more than $2 million.
Before the court are 65-year-old Patricia Lenine Mabel Walsh, who faces 89 charges of fraud,
forgery and theft, and her 78-year-old aunt, Elva Mary Medhurst, accused of two charges of theft.
The SFO says that Walsh told many of the investors in the failed apartment scheme that an
overseas charitable trust or a Christian benefactor who helped out people in dire straits would
recoup their losses on the project.
But they had to pay expenses and fees involved in getting the trust's money to New Zealand.
The SFO claims that Walsh was putting their money into a Nigerian scam related to the
supposed supply of computers to the Nigerian National Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Walsh was said to be expecting to make US$28 million, but she also was duped.
A former partner in an Auckland law firm told Judge Simon Lockhart, QC, that he lost $400,000 in
the apartment failure and another $1.2 million trying to get his money back.
The SFO says Walsh sent his $1.2 million to Nigeria with other investors' money.
The lawyer, who like all the complainants has name suppression, told the court Dutcher was
due to stand trial in the United States on fraud charges but committed suicide last month.
He told the court that he had been seeking $8 million from the rescue package, supposedly
financed by Middle East oil money, to pay taxes and creditors and provide for his child's
[419 Coalition note: See 4 NOV 2004 News for more on this case.]
5 NOV 2004
Sent in by an Associate from the Herald Sun
newspaper of Melbourne, Australia:
Nigerian-scam adviser jailed
By Christine Caulfield and Ian Royal
A FINANCIAL adviser has been jailed for at least four years after losing more than $1 million of
his clients' money in a Nigerian banking scam.
Robert Andrew Street, 58, then a licensed securities dealer, deceived clients into handing over
retirement savings after being fooled by the scam.
The County Court heard Street told victims he would invest their money in risk-free projects, but
instead transferred $1,039,910 overseas to the frauds.
Street had been hoodwinked by a person claiming to be a representative of a Nigerian
government committee, who offered him $65 million on payment of certain "upfront fees".
He also used $10,000 of his clients' funds to buy mobile telephones, which he arranged to be delivered to an address in Nigeria.
The money has not been recovered and Street never received his promised millions.
Street, of Mitcham, pleaded guilty to five counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception
between September 2001 and August 2002, following an investigation by the Australian
Securities and Investments Commission.
Judge Tom Wodak yesterday sentenced Street to a maximum five years and three months' jail.
He described the fraud as a serious breach of trust. "That you were a person of apparent good
reputation no doubt assisted you to reach the position in which you were able to do as you did,"
he told Street.
"The gravity of these offences is illustrated by your relationship with your clients, some of whom
had become friends."
Judge Wodak said Street actively concealed from his clients the truth about his
misappropriation of their savings, telling victims they were investing in projects guaranteeing
returns of up to 500 per cent.
"The circumstances of these offences truly portray a sad story. It is one of tragedy, and financial
hardship for each of your victims," Judge Wodak said.
4 NOV 2004
From the New Zealand Herald, sent in by an
Pair in court over Nigerian money scam
A 78-year-old Howick woman and her 65-year-old niece are facing charges laid by the Serious
Fraud Office over a $2 million Nigerian investment scam.
Elva Mary Medhurst is accused of two charges of theft by misappropriation with her niece,
Patricia Lenine Mabel Walsh, also of Howick.
Walsh faces a further 87 charges including false pretences, forgery, and uttering false
Typically "Nigerian advance fee frauds", as the SFO terms them, involve a person in Nigeria
sending a stream of emails or faxes giving elaborate details of vast amounts of money tied up
in a Swiss bank account - funds that can only be released if some money is paid up-front.
In the Auckland District Court yesterday, SFO prosecutor Dawn Roscoe told Judge Simon
Lockhart, QC, that Walsh defrauded eight individuals or couples and sent their money to
Nigeria in the unrealistic expectation by Walsh of a US$28 million ($40.9 million) return.
One of the victims, a former senior partner in a large Auckland law firm, lost $1.17 million, and
has since been declared bankrupt.
All the victims have name suppression at this stage.
Judge Lockhart was told that at one stage in June 2002 Walsh and a man travelled to
Amsterdam where they met two men, Kingsley and Johan, at the Nigerian consulate and were
shown a box which they were told contained US$28 million.
But they could not take the cash, as Johan had to go to London to sort out another contract, this
time for $50 million.
Ms Roscoe said that most of the complainants had been involved in a failed property project in
St Stephens Ave initiated by Walsh in the late 1990s, and had lost large sums of money.
Walsh and her husband suffered substantial losses and were declared bankrupt.
Ms Roscoe said that Walsh told the complainants that she had come up with a rescue package
for investors in the St Stephens project and needed money to establish a trust for that purpose.
She also said that a US trust wanted to set up a trust to distribute funds to people in need in New
Ms Roscoe said that Walsh also claimed to be doing the legwork for a Christian benefactor in
the US and the UK who assisted people who got into difficulty through no fault of their own.
The victims were promised that their losses in the St Stephens project would be recouped and
they would double their investment.
The money was needed for legal expenses, bank fees and taxes.
Ms Roscoe said that having obtained the funds from the complainants, Walsh sent the money
Ms Roscoe told the court that Walsh presented the complainants with forged documents to
persuade them to give her money.
"Some of the complainants queried the validity of Mrs Walsh's requests and in response she
provided them with documents forged by her to support her requests for funds. Reassured by
the forged documents, the complainants continued giving Mrs Walsh money."
She made no mention that money was going to Nigeria.
The two charges jointly faced by Walsh and Medhurst allege that money paid by two of the
complainants was to remain in the Jabeez trust account at the ASB, to be returned after a month.
The money was withdrawn by Walsh and Medhurst, a trustee of the trust, and was not returned
to the providers.
Walsh is represented by Mark Edgar and Jeremy Bioletti and Medhurst by Shane Tait.
Typically involve numerous emails or faxes from a person giving intricate details of vast
amounts of money tied up in Swiss bank accounts.
The target is told the funds can be released only if some money is paid upfront.
419 Coalition note: Though the author seems so be a bit confused over the
various types of 419 and is inaccurate that mentions of Swiss accounts are
the norm, a cautionary piece....
1 NOV 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
$242m Scam: Anajemba Appeals Forfeiture of Properties
From Lillian Okenwa in Abuja
One of the suspects facing trial for defrauding a Brazilian bank of $242 million, Mrs. Amaka
Anajemba has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja challenging the refusal of a
Federal High Court to discharge an interim order forfeiting her properties.
She filed seven grounds upon which the court of appeal should vacate the high court order.
One of the grounds is that the high court erred in law for refusing to discharge the order despite
the fact that the main suit upon which the application for forfeiture was predicated had been
Her counsel, Chief Chris Uche said, in the notice of appeal, "It was wrong for the trial judge to
refuse to discharge the said ex-parte order upon the determination of the matter it was
predicated upon, and even so to refuse to do so three months after the determination of the
The second ground was based on the allegation that the judge that made the order did so in
violation of Anajemba's right to fair hearing.
Uche said that the order should not have been granted ex-parte giving the fact that Anajmeba
was within the court's jurisdiction and could have been served with the notice of the application.
The court of appeal is yet to fix a date for hearing.
Anajemba had unsuccessfully applied to the Federal High Court to set aside the ex-parte order
obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for forfeiture of her assets
She argued that all the properties listed against her name and upon which the court relied in
granting the ex parte order belonged to third parties who were not standing trial.
She also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to grant the order on the ground that she was
already facing trial before the Chief Judge of the Abuja High Court, Justice Lawal Gumi.
EFCC May 26 this year, obtained an order from the Federal High Court freezing the banks'
accounts of Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Anajemba and Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, three suspects
charged with defrauding a Brazilian Bank to the tune of $242 million.
EFCC was acting on information that some of the suspects were making clandestine moves to
dispose their properties because they are likely to forfeit same to the state in the vent that they
are found guilty. The following properties belonging to one of the suspects, Chief Nwude the
commission listed the following properties for forfeiture; 36 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, 60
Marina, Lagos, 34 Bourdilion Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, 43 Afribank Road, Victoria, Lagos, 80 Allen
Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos and 3/5 Abagana Close, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Others are 37/39 Awka
Road, Onitsha, Anambra State, Russel Centre, Wuse, Abuja FCT. 60 Chime Avenue, Enugu,
Enugu State, 2 Trans-Ekulu Avenue, Enugu, Enugu State, Petrol Station at Oye Agu, Abagana,
Anambra State and F22 Sani Abacha Road, GRA Phase 111 Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Vehicles sought to be forfeited allegedly owned by Nwude are, BMW, registration number
GA823 AAA, Honda Acura registration number DE712KJA, Mercedes Benz, registration number
DJI 70AAA, Porsche, registration number CP524AAA, Jaguar, registration number CA340KJA,
BMW, registration number CH238 SMK and Mercedes Benz registration number, CE511LND.
He was said to have 65,119 ordinary shares in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. The shares were
registered in different names.
26 OCT 2004
From the Daily Independent (Online) a Nigerian
No out of court settlement with 419 suspects, says FG
By Victor Efeizomor, Law Reporter, Lagos
A determined government out to clean up Nigeria’s soiled image refused flatly on Monday to
do a deal with financial crime suspects which would have let them off the hook to enjoy half their
Abuja poured cold water on the idea of an out-of-court settlement for suspects standing trial for
alleged involvement in advance fee fraud (popularly called 419) cases now pending in various
Among those being tried are Union Bank former director Emmanuel Nwude, Amaka Martina
Anajemba and Nzeribe Edehe Okoli, who are charged at the Ikeja High Court with alleged
involvement in a $242 million (N33.88 billion) scam.
The government was reacting to the moves they reportedly made to settle the matter out of
A counsel with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs, confirmed
the development and said the Presidency turned down the offer because it is not satisfied with
The suspects had a secret negotiation with the victims’ counsels who visited the country a
fortnight ago, and concluded arrangements on how to refund the money. But they reached a
deadlock when the government threw a spanner in the works.
Said Jacobs: "The moves failed because the accused persons were not ready to surrender
100 percent of their loot. They are saying they would only refund 50 percent, and that is not
acceptable. It would send a wrong signal about Nigeria. You see, it would mean that our country
encourages its citizens to defraud people and they would not be prosecuted after remitting 50
Jacobs, EFCC lead counsel in the case, said the government is determined to prosecute the
accused persons to the logical conclusion and would confiscate their properties if they are
But Nwude faulted the government position. He spoke through his counsel Amobi Nzelu, saying
the victims are"very satisfied with the arrangement as modalities have been worked out on how
to pay the money gradually over a period of time".
He stated that the stance casts doubt on the sincerity of the government, questioned the
essence of taking the matter to court when the suspects and the victims are ready to settle out of
court and speculated that the state has a secret agenda to persecute them and not to
Nwude said he and the other accused persons doubt the impartiality of the courts, "which
appear to be acting out a script from above", as the utterances of the judge and the speed at
which the case is being handled raises suspicion.
The accused persons have filed a motion on notice which challenges the jurisdiction of the
court to continue with the trial.
Further hearing has been adjourned till November 1.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
21 OCT 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
How fraud suspect transferred N200m from abroad, by witness
By Mustapha Ogunsakin, Snr. Judiciary Reporter
An insight into how suspected swindlers route their ill-gotten wealth from abroad into clean bank
accounts in Nigeria was yesterday given at an Ikeja High Court, Lagos.
A witness, Mr. Abdul-Rasak Isa, disclosed how one of the suspects in the reported biggest
fraud trial, Chief Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, transferred N206,677 million from abroad into a bank in
Standing trial along with Okoli in the matter are Chief Emmanuel Nwude and Mrs Amaka Martina
Isa, the Executive Director of Safe Trust Savings and Loans Limited, told Justice Joseph
Oyewole of his company's role in the funds transfer.
The suspects are accused of defrauding a Brazilian bank of N62 billion.
Nwude yesterday filed a motion on notice before Justice Oyewole seeking to quash the 98-
count charge of conspiracy and advance fee fraud preferred against him and the other two
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, Isa disclosed that a large
chunk of the transferred sum was eventually deposited into his company.
He also said that following the inability of his company to get directly involved in the deal, he
introduced the Nigerian bank which finally got the job done for Okoli.
The evidence went thus:
What is the nature of your company?
It is a licensed deposit company and lending money towards property development.
Do you know somebody called Nzeribe Ede Okoli?
Yes, he is a customer with our company. He became our customer in 1995.
Isa narrated how Okoli was introduced to his company by the deceased husband of the
accused, Mrs. Anajemba, Ikechukwu. Okoli opened a personal and company account in the
name of Ocean Oil Marketing Company Limited.
Isa named Nwude as the referee to Okoli's account, which was opened with the savings and
Recounting how the money was transferred, the witness said: "The customer asked us if we
were interested in buying foreign exchange, to which we said 'no', we were licensed deposit
operator and not into foreign exchange."
Isa continued: "However, we said we could introduce him (Okoli) to commercial or merchant
banks which could buy FOREX from him. Thereafter, he could bring his naira to his account with
"We now called on some banks and one of the banks offered to buy FOREX from him. He
requested for the bank's foreign correspondence account. They sent it to us and we sent the
account number to him.
"Thereafter, the bank called us that they had received money in the name of Ocean Oil
Marketing Company Ltd. They now issued the naira cheque value and sent it to us to lodge in
the account of the Ocean Oil Marketing Co.
"After this, the cheques were sent for clearing after which the customer was free to raise cheque
to draw money and draft. The customers wrote letters instructing us to raise cash and
sometimes instructed us for payment."
According to him, a total sum of N206,672 million was transferred at different dates between May
12, 1995 and June 30 of the same year.
Isa also said that the accused person instructed the savings and loans company on how the
money was to be paid.
He added that the business relationship ended via a letter dated February 24, 1997, when Okoli
requested for the closure of his account after some of the funds had been moved.
The witness told the court that Okoli only informed him that the funds were from oil business
Besides, he told the court that the late Anajemba's account was taken over by his wife, Amaka,
after his death. The trial continues today.
Nwude's motion to quash the charges was filed by his lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN).
The first accused person wants the court to safeguard his landed property, which he might lose
if found guilty.
The property include: 36 Ikoyi Crescent, Lagos; 60, Marina, Lagos; 60 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi,
Lagos; 43 Afribank Road, Victoria Island Lagos; and 80 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos.
Others are 3/5 Abagana Close, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos; 37/39 Awka road, Onitsha, Anambra
State; Russel Centre, Wuse, Abuja; and 60 Chime Avenue, Enugu, Enugu State.
The rest are 2 Trans-Ekulu Avenue, Enugu, Petrol Station at Oyo Agu, Abagana, Anambra
State and F22 Sani Abacha Road, G.R.A, Phase III, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He may also lose the following vehicles: BMW with registration number GA 823 AAA, Honda
Acura with registration number DE 712 KJA, Mercedes Benz with registration number DJ 170
AAA, Porsche with registration number CP524 AAA, Jaguar with registration number CA 340
KJA, BMW with registration No CH 238 SMK, and a Mercedes Benz with registration number CE
Also at risk are 65,119,000 ordinary shares in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc registered in the names
of Emmanuel Nwude-Odingwe, 4,101,000; Precious Nwude one million, Russel Elochukwu 1
million, Daniella Nwude one million, Dian Ebelechukwu 1.5 million, Ekene Nwude two million,
Russel Shopping Mall ltd 6,050,000, Emms Auto Nigeria Ltd 8,130,000, and African Shelter
Bureau Ltd, 9,890,00
He also stands to lose all his shares in his four companies Dax Petroleum, Dax Holdings and
Properties, Godax Group Ltd, Primrole Communications.
In a 12-paragraph affidavit sworn to by one Bello Kasim Abu, the accused person averred that
the Schedule of Assets contained in the proof of evidence at page 727 which stated the above
assets was oppressive against him to allow the trial to proceed. [419 Coalition Note: We
assume that what is meant is that the accused feels that putting the above assets at risk
is too oppressive towards him to allow the trial to proceed, if so, That's some interesting
logic, eh what?] :) :)
"It is in the best interest of justice to quash the charges, discharge and acquit the applicant,"
419 Coalition Note: Most of the major Nigerian newspapers also carried
pieces on these developments, including ThisDay, Vanguard, and The Punch.
19 OCT 2004
From NewAge (Online), a Nigerian newspaper:
ANAJEMBA $242 MILLION SCAM:
Ecobank, MBC and Diamond bought dollars from Anajemba - Witness
By Blessing Eghagha
The on-going trial of Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba and Chief
Okoli Nzeribe continued yesterday with a prosecution witness Mr. S. Edezo
Daniel Nwangu saying that Ecobank, MBC International and Diamond Bank
were major beneficiaries of funds running into millions of dollars allegedly
transferred from a New York bank account run by the late Chief Anajemba to
off-shore accounts operated by the banks in London.
Mr. Nwangu who was being led in evidence by EFCC chief prosecutor Mr.
Rotimi Jacobs also told the court that as chief executive and chairman of six
companies namely Masters Travels Agency, Dan Starcher Turnkey
Contractors, Omega Engineering Ltd., General Securities and Finance
Company Ltd., McDaniels Nig. Ltd and McDaniels U.K Ltd., he was licensed to
operate a Bureau de Change. At an occasion he told the court, he met the late
Chief Anajemba who told him that he had some hard currencies he made from
petroleum business and that he was in desperate search for a buyer that would
pay the equivalent of $5 million in naira.
Consequently, he contacted MBC International Bank which bought $1.7 million
and paid N142 million into the late Anajemba’s account here in Nigeria. He
also told the court that he sold $1.7 million to Ecobank and another $1.2 million
to Diamond Bank. Others who received monies in the laundering deals
included G. Cappa Limited which received $300,000 (three hundred thousand
dollars) and Campbell Tobacco which also received the sum of $560,000 (five
hundred and sixty thousand) on the instruction of the late Chief Anajemba.
When asked by Mr. Jacobs whether he knew the source of the funds he
answered "it was during investigation that I discovered that the money was
paid by Stanturn Development Corporation."
Furthermore, he told the court that his business transactions with the late Chief
Anajemba has put his company and himself into "great financial and emotional
strain" saying that he has been dragged to different courts in New York, New
Jersey, Florida and London. These transactions, he told the court "have been
ruinous to me."
Earlier on, presiding judge, the Hon. Justice Kayode Oyewole complained to
Chief Chris Uche (SAN) and Mr. Ofolue, defence counsel that he had received
one or two visitors whom he would not like to name. He warned that nobody
should interfere with the course of justice saying that as "a judge I am also a
"I have relations. I have friends. I went to school so people know me. But I will
not decide this case on anything outside what is presented before the court."
Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Chief Emmanuel Nwude and Chief Okoli Nzeribe are
facing a 92 count charge of obtaining money by false pretences, money
laundering and other related offences. They were alleged to have duped one
Mr. Nelson Sakaguchi of the sum of $242 million in a scam that has been
described as the single biggest fraud in the world. A leading bank in Brazil was
liquidated in the business deal. It was reported that some of the directors in that
bank committed suicide in order to avoid prosecution. Trial resumes next
It would be recalled that a witness, at the last hearing had named three other
banks as having served as conduits for the Anajemba booty.
Here is he URL of the story for as long as it is good:
419 Coalition note: Most of the major Nigerian papers carried this
story as well.
18 OCT 2004
From the Australian Associated Press (AAP):
Melbourne, Australia: Financial planner falls for Nigerian scam
A financial planner today pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court to fraud
after being caught up in a Nigerian scam.
Robert Andrew Street of Mitcham, an eastern suburb in Melbourne, pleaded
guilty to five charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception between
September 2001 and August 2002 to a total of $1.03 million.
The court head that an investigation carried out by the Australian Securities
Investment Commission (ASIC) found Mr Street told clients he needed funding
to complete a number of investment projects he was developing, including an
electronic system of tracking stolen cars and a bank scheme to reduce
ASIC said that instead, Mr Street was caught up in a Nigerian scam where he
believed that a person purporting to be a representative of the Nigerian
government had offered to transfer $US65 million to him, upon payment of
certain up-front fees.
Mr Street transferred the majority of the clients' funds to various overseas
destinations and also spent $10,000 of clients' money to buy mobile
telephones which he sent to an address in Nigeria.
None of the clients' money has been recovered.
The case has been adjourned to November 4 for sentencing.
8 OCT 2004
From the Daily Independent (Online) a
Police arrest LASU student, others for swindling Briton
By Maxwell Oditta, Senior Correspondent, Lagos
The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 200 level student of Industrial Relations and
Personnel Management at the Lagos State University. The student identified as Mobolaji
Abdullahi Ashimi with two others, were alleged to have swindled a Briton, Miss Jane Harris.
Ashimi was also alleged to have used a fake name, Ben Jackson, in the course of transaction
with Miss Harris to order the purchase of a computer laptop through the Internet and paid the
sum of £350 with a forged international bank draft of the Bank of Ireland.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Israel Ajao, paraded 23-year-old Ashimi and his
co-conspirators, Akin-Wale Victor and Moshood Banjo, before newsmen on Tuesday at his
command headquarters in Ikeja. The police chief recounted the incident thus:
"The complainant (Harris) believing the transaction was genuine posted the computer through
United Parcel Services (UPS) to the said Ben Jackson whose actual name is Mobolaji
Abdulahi Ashimi. On presentation of the cheque in England, it was found to be forged."
Harris, who gave her address as No. 95, Meadfield Road, Langley, England, quickly contacted
Ajao through his direct line. The Lagos police boss said he swiftly deployed all necessary
instruments to recover the consignment and arrest the suspects on Wednesday, September 29,
Ajao said the police recovered the computer from the UPS by posing as UPS officials and
inviting Ashimi to pick up his consignment. He was arrested the moment he showed up at the
UPS office. His two accomplices, both practicing computer maintenance engineers, were
Items recovered from the three include a blank international bank draft of Bank of Ireland, a
blank cheque of Bankers Trust Company payable at Bankers Trust in New York, cashier
cheque of Bankers Trust Company also payable in New York. The police say all recovered
cheques have already been signed by the suspects and ready for fraudulent use against
unsuspecting Internet traders.
Furthermore, other items recovered also from the suspect include the list of 39 foreign nationals
containing their addresses, e-mail, zip code, including that of Harris, who are suspected to have
been defrauded. "During the search, we also found a First Bank of Nigeria Statement of
Account, Lagos State Government Income Tax Clearance, fake Corporate Affairs Commission
certificate of registration, among others," Ajao said.
Daily Independent investigation revealed that 22-year-old Akinwale prepared the fake
cheques, while 27-year-old Banjo arranged business negotiations with prospective ‘clients’. But
Banjo, who introduced himself as Ashimi’s cousin, denied his role, saying he was implicated
when the police saw his name in an envelope in his cousin’s abode.
When he spoke with our correspondent, Ashimi expressed regret for the attempted swindle,
saying he needed the proceeds for paying his school fees.
"I believe I have already tarnished my image by dubbing an innocent woman. My advice to
people is that they should always wait for their turn," he added.
6 OCT 2004
From the Khaleej Times Online, Dubai UAE:
Nigerian con man takes Kuwaiti for Dh3.1 m ride
By Hani M Bathish
Kuwaiti businessman has filed a civil case against a Nigerian con artist who
managed to cheat him out of Dh3.1 million. The con man, S. M. B., is currently a
resident of the Dubai Central Jail having been sentenced to three years in
prison earlier this year by the Dubai Court of First Instance for cheating Y. Y. A.,
a Kuwaiti national of large sums of money.
After a ruling was issued in the criminal component of the case, the Kuwaiti
businessman, represented by the lawyer Sameer Ja’afar, filed a civil case to
recover his money.
The case goes back to early January this year, when S. M. B. contacted Y. Y.
A. in Kuwait telling him that he had heard of him through business colleagues in
Egypt and wanted to meet the Kuwaiti businessman face to face in Dubai to
propose a business venture. After repeated calls, Y. Y. A. finally agreed to
meet with S. M. B. in Dubai where they met on January 20.
S. M. B. said that he and other colleagues had hundreds of millions in Euros
and GBPs but were facing political difficulties in transferring these funds out of
Nigeria and wanted Y. Y. A.’s assistance in accessing these funds. In return the
Kuwaiti businessman would be paid 15 per cent of the total amount for his
assistance. To reassure Y. Y. A. that he was being honest with him, S. M. B.
took him to his apartment and showed him a brief case full of Euros and gave
him a sample of the cash to check for himself.
After taking a sample of the money, Y. Y. A. went to his bank to check its
authenticity and upon confirmation from the bank that the banknote was
genuine, Y. Y. A. withdrew $551,000 in cash from his account, as well as 20 kilos
of gold, worth Dh1.1 million, and Dh10, 000 in cash and gave it to S. M. B..
Y. Y. A. also agreed to transfer a further 200 kilos of gold to Switzerland the next
day but did not as he grew suspicious of S. M. B. and called the police. S. M. B.
was arrested while boarding a flight bound for Ethiopia.
Police recovered only $ 69,694, Euro 30,000 and small amounts in other
currencies, as well as 30 gold coins and some gold jewellery that was with S.
M. B.. The rest of the money had already been transferred out of the country.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
6 OCT 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
Suspects in $247million fraud seek out of court settlement
By Victor Efeizomor, Law Reporter, Lagos
Indications emerged on Tuesday at the Ikeja High Court that the three suspects standing trial
over alleged involvement in an advance fee fraud of $247 million (about N34 billion) are making
frantic efforts to settle the matter out of court.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, counsels to the accused persons led by Alex Iziyon (SAN)
said the accused persons have been holding discussions with the prosecution and the victims
of the scam since Monday, and that court should step down on the matter for some time to
enable them reach an agreement.
At this point, the prosecution counsel Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that he has no objection
and that the court should stand down the matter for a short while.
Following this development, the presiding Judge, Justice Joseph Oyewale granted the
application and asked the parties to go for a brief discussion. He however quickly added that
the decision of the parties was not binding on the court.
The parley, involving all the accused persons, Chief Emmanuel Nwude, a Director at Union
Bank, Mrs. Aamaka Maritina Anajemba and Chief Edeh Okoli as well as the victims of the scam
including officials of the Brazilian Bank, lasted for two and half hours outside the courtroom.
When the parties returned to the courtroom for the proceeding to commence, Iziyon, counsel to
the first accused person, sought the courts permission to move an application for adjournment,
to enable him prepare for the Abuja New Legal Year celebration where he is expected to
present a paper. But Justice Oyewale interjected saying that he did not plan for the stand down
and adjournment as he was prepared to continue with the matter.
While alluding to the import of the discussion, Iziyon quickly told the judge that if he was privy to
the discussions, he would know its usefulness as that would save him the trouble of bothering
himself with too much writing in the court.
The defence counsel agreed to the adjournment, while Jacobs, the prosecution counsel who
initially objected to it, after listing to the argument of other counsels agreed to an adjournment.
Justice Oyewale therefore fixed October 18, 20, 21 and 23, 2004 respectively, for the hearing of
Note: ThisDay also carried a piece on this story.
5 OCT 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
$242m Scam: 3 Banks Named in Money Laundering Deals
By Abimbola Akosile
Three banks and two companies were yesterday named as active participants in a $242 million
Advance Fee Fraud a.k.a. 419 scam, involving Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Chief Emmanuel
Nwude, and Mr. Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, which took place over a three-year period.
Following examination of the 1st Prosecution Witness (PW1), Mr. John Babatunde Soares in the
de novo (fresh) trial before Ikeja High Court judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, Chief Emmanuel
Nwude (1st accused person), Nigerian Intercontinental Merchant Bank (now Inter-continental
Bank), Industrial Bank (now City Express Bank), Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), Union Trust
Building Society Limited, and an Indian company, Royal Crest Nig. Limited, were named in
several money laundering deals.
The accused persons, who were re-arraigned in Lagos on Friday, July 23, by the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following an Abuja High Court dismissal of the former
86 - count charge brought against them in July, are to face a fresh 98-count charge, in
accordance with Sections 1(1)(a) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 1995 as amended by
Act 62 of 1998. The trial is expected to last till October 6.
In a packed courtroom yesterday, Soares, a chartered banker, in response to questions during
the evidence-in-chief by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (EFCC counsel), revealed how he carried out
several foreign exchange transactions between the above-mentioned banks and companies,
on behalf of Nwude and the late Ikechukwu Anajemba.
Soares, formerly a suspect arrested by EFCC who later turned prosecution witness, confessed
to having moved foreign currencies totalling $10.1m in forex deals on behalf of Nwude, who had
allegedly told him he was into spare parts, tyres, and crude oil businesses...
For the rest of the article, which is basically detail testimony from
Soares, go here for as long as the link is good:
19 SEP 2004
From the Daily (Sunday) Champion,
a Nigerian newspaper:
Cybercafe fraudsters arrested in EFCC-FBI joint operations
TWENTY-eight Internet fraudsters have been arrested in Lagos, in joint operations between the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the United States Federal Bureau of
Also, $3.5 million (N490 million) was recovered in fraudulent cashier cheques and goods
bought over the Internet and shipped to Nigeria by credit card scammers.
A release signed by Mr Osita Nwajah, head, Media and Publicity of EFCC said the year-long
cooperation targeted the rising cases of cyber crime, especially credit card fraud in Nigeria.
Some of the suspected fraudsters are to be charged to court soon, Nwajah said.
Meanwhile, the United States Attorney General, John Asheroft has commended President
Olusegun Obasanjo for setting up EFCC.
Ashcroft gave the public commendation, last month at an international media conference of law
enforcement agencies to review Operation Web Snare, an inter-agency initiative, in
Ashcroft, noted that cyber crime was a major global source of worry adding that only committed
governments and cooperative efforts between law enforcement agencies around the world can
effectively tackle the menace.
He singled out Nigeria as one fine example where such a government exists and where joint
operations between EFCC and FBI have been exceptionally fruitful.
419 Coalition comment: We anxiously await both convictions and
repatriations of funds in these and other cases, but there has been
neither to date - not even in the Ghasemi case where CBN announced
years ago that it had recovered the victim/s money.
8 SEP 2004
For those interested in a bit of gallows humor,
please see the following piece from The Register
in the UK and be sure to click on the links :)
The piece is titled:
"419ers launch online educational facility"
Here is the URL for as long as it is good:
8 SEP 2004
Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations, out of
Holland, is interested in the whereabouts of this alleged
419er and any other details anyone has on him. If you
recognize this man, and have details on him, please contact
Monica at email@example.com
This pic seems to be an odd type file( .oko ) but we were able
to open it with the Windows Fax and Picture Viewer.
30 AUG 2004
From the Straits Times, Singapore:
Nigerian scams: Now who's the fool?
By Arlina Arshad
Though his family dragged him - five times - to the Nigerian High Commission,
the elderly man still believed he was about to become rich, as promised in a
He ignored warnings of the High Commission staff that he was the target of the
much publicised Nigerian scams.
A few months later, the 80-year-old Singaporean returned. How could he
recover money scammed from him, he asked. The High Commission told him
to contact the police.
Mr Georges Alabi, the Acting Nigerian High Commissioner, told the story in the
first media interview with the High Commission on scamming.
'That's the biggest problem we face, people who simply refuse to believe us
when we tell them they're dealing with fraudsters.
'Instead, they called us fools and said that we're blocking them from getting
Often, people are not forthcoming in supplying information, which slows down
investigation, he added.
He said there were two other cases of Singaporeans losing money after being
warned by the High Commission.
The Commercial Affairs Department here reports three Nigerian scam cases in
the first half of this year in which victims lost between $5,000 and $30,000 each.
Mr Alabi said the so-called Nigerian scam is over 20 years old. Targets,
picked at random, are offered shares in non-existent family fortunes or shady
deals involving transfers of large sums of money - but are told they must pay a
small amount first.
Mr Alabi said the Nigerian government was serious about busting 'scammers
who bring the country's name to disrepute', by using the names of the country's
political leaders or seemingly genuine government letterheads and seals.
He said any Singaporean who applies for a visa to visit Nigeria gets a warning
leaflet and a police notice.
Since last October, the High Commission has received 134 faxes concerning
scam letters: 'Phone numbers of the agents are all compiled and sent to the
Nigerian authorities for investigation.'
Mr Alabi also said the chambers of commerce here have been warned that many scam letters
were sent through company faxes.
A commission was set up in 2002 in Nigeria to combat crimes like money
laundering and advance-fee frauds.
A Nigerian legislator was thrown into jail last year, Mr Alabi said, when the
telephone in his office was found to be linked to the scammers.
He died in custody.
Mr Alabi added that the scammers are 'faceless people who operate like a
cult'. 'Scams are not peculiar to any country. There are 140 million people in
Nigeria but that doesn't mean all of us are dishonest.'
Last October, the Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos had said Nigerians were
chief players behind Spanish lottery scams.
Mr Joseph Tan, whose Internet portal www.crime-library.org discusses crime
news, said he has received 49 calls and e-mail messages this year from
Singaporeans who responded to scam letters.
They pulled back only when asked to put US$500 (S$856) into overseas bank
26 AUG 2004
Relevant portion of a speech by John Ashcroft,
Attorney General of the United States, on Operation
Websnare, a crackdown on internet fraud:
"In response to the rising tide of Internet crime emanating from Nigeria and other West African
nations, the President of Nigeria in 2002 established the Economic and Financial Crime
Commission. To further strengthen our international cooperation, the FBI has assigned an agent
to work exclusively with Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crime Commission. This
coordinated effort is dedicated to rooting out advance-fee schemes-such as the email-based
frauds that ask recipients to help the email senders move money out of Africa but require
recipients to send their own money or bank-account information first. Thanks to this partnership,
I am pleased to say that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission authorities conducted
a number of controlled deliveries and arrested a number of subjects as part of Web Snare.
To increase our success in stopping Internet fraud, the Department of Justice has invited two
EFCC attorneys from Nigeria to attend upcoming Internet fraud training with our federal
prosecutors. Ibrahim Lamorde, the EFCC's Director of Operations, is with us today. I thank you
for Nigeria's help and for the Economic and Financial Crime Commission's contributions to
Operation Web Snare."
Here is the link to the complete speech for as long as
it is good: http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/speeches/2004/82604ag.htm
25 AUG 2004
From Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper:
Corruption among law enforcers hinders anti-graft war, says Ribadu
By Innocent Anaba
ABUJA -CHAIRMAN of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu
Ribadu yesterday said that corruption amongst law enforcement officers was a major problem
responsible for failure of the Federal Government's anti-corruption campaign, even with
whopping sum of over N250billion being expended by government on the said officers.
He also blamed insufficiency of courts and judges for the congestions of cases in court,
particularly the prosecution of economic and financial crime related cases, adding that, bank
frauds are on the increase, forex abuses and manipulations are still the stock of many banks,
419 still looms large, money laundering from corrupt proceeds is still visible and apparent.
According to him, the commission is prosecuting over 100 cases in court, while about 300 other
cases are at various stages of investigation.
Speaking at the on-going Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) national conference in Abuja on the
topic Problems Associated with Enforcement of Economic Crimes, Mallam Ribadu said, the
principal reason for the failure of our law enforcement agencies is corruption. In fact, it went so
bad that in some cases, law enforcement officers were found to be the principal perpetrators of
Invariably, there was no law, because those that are supposed to enforce the law became the
worst culprits of breaking the law. This was quite worrisome because as the custodians of the
law and order, they were supposed to lead by example and be above board. Apparently, the
failure on the part of law enforcement agencies and the eventual breakdown of law and order
grossly affected the administration and delivery of justice and led to loss of confidence by the
public in justice administration.
Further he said as at today, we have over 500,000 law enforcement personnel working in
various law enforcement agencies, while Nigeria spends averagely N250billion on law
enforcement agencies. Despite the large number of law enforcement workforce, nothing seems
to be happening.
The congestion of cases in our courts and slow pace of court proceedings occasioned by
insufficient numbers of courts and judges and the manual recording system take their share of
blame in the problems associated with the enforcement of our laws particularly the prosecution
of economic and financial crimes. This had hampered speedy and timely prosecution of cases.
22 AUG 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
When a Hunter became the hunted
How a Lagos Pastor walked into security net in attempt to swindle two Americans of $5.3Million
in crude oil deal
Bassey Udo, Snr Correspondent, Abuja
Dr Benjamin Brown could not believe he could fall prey to a bait that could make him look like a
cheap criminal. He always considered himself smart, or so he thought, when he came in contact
with Damon Lee, a young American commodities trade businessman and President of
Resource Petroleum and Petrochemicals International Incorporated, based in Long Island city,
New York, United States.
For more than a year, he and his friend, Alhaji Mohammed Bakindo, presented split
personalities to Lee and his Indian-American wife, Daunette Chung. Though members of a
steely-eyed syndicate of Nigerian fraudsters, Brown and Bakindo presented themselves as
pious religious personalities and preyed on them.
Dr Brown claimed to be a pastor of an unnamed Pentecostal church in Lagos, while Alhaji
Bakindo cut the personality of a staunch Muslim leader who could hardly hurt a fly. It was this
deceptive picture they cut that deceived Lee and Daunette into taking them into a business
confidence that almost cost them a $5.3Million crude oil sales swindle.
Lee has been involved in commodities trade business for more than 25 years. Throughout the
period, Nigeria was never his customer. Two years ago, Lee's company became interested in
trading in Nigeria's oil. Lee's first contact for information about doing oil trade business in
Nigeria was the Nigerian Embassy in New York. But, the process, for Lee, appeared to have
dragged endlessly, without any headway, even where huge resources had already been spent
sponsoring some officials to Nigeria from New York each time it became necessary. Lee got
fed up and terminated the relationship.
Shortly after severing relations with the Embassy officials, Lee came in contact with a Nigerian,
resident in the US and working with Globex International, who introduced Dr Brown and Alhaji
Bakindo to him as representatives of Hyson Nigeria Limited, one of the commercial and
investment arms of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Brown later told Lee he was a top official of Hyson, with wide contacts with the hierarchy of the
NNPC and the Nigerian oil industry, while Bakindo also presented himself as the point man for
the General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing, NNPC, Alhaji Aminu Baba-Kusa.
Lee could not believe his luck to have come into such high level contacts. He wasted no time
opening discussions on a proposal to secure about six million barrels of Nigeria's crude oil.
Before the formal signing of the contract, Brown and Bakindo demanded and collected $50,000
for "crude allocation assignment fees". Later, following the signing of the contract, another sum
of $450,000 was received for "wharf charges" by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to facilitate
the use of the ports to transport the commodity to the US. What was left was the total value of
$450million for the crude allocation.
At no point did Lee suspect anything was going wrong. Not even his request for Hyson and
NNPC's telephone numbers could give any inkling, as Brown would promptly supply the correct
information. Brown even encouraged him to get in contact with either Hyson or NNPC to make
his independent findings whenever he felt dissatisfied with any information they provided about
the transaction. They even suggested that the FBI could contact them if there was any
information they needed to confirm. If there were still any doubt, they said the Interpol in Nigeria
could contact the FBI, or the FBI could come to Nigeria to look for them to verify. This made Lee
comfortable to continue dealing with them. All the documents used for the transaction, including
the ports papers and receipts, appeared impeccable. One needed to work as an insider in the
oil industry or the NPA to know their difference with the original.
At times when things appeared not be moving as expected, Alhaji Bakindo would call up Lee,
his brother in Islam, and both would solicit Allah's divine intervention. He never tired telling Lee
how as an ardent Moslem, committed to his faith, he cannot tell him a lie, or deceive.
On several occasions, Brown, "the pastor", would also call up Lee's wife, and for hours both
would petition God in prayers on phone. Both would even fast together seeking God's face.
"I have never seen somebody so prayerful like Dr Benjamin Brown. I have lost count of the
times he and my wife prayed together on phone, or reading the Bible for hours. And
Mohammed Bakindo, my brother in Islam, I have never seen a person so devoted to his faith.
He always told me, as an Alhaji he could not tell lies. And I believed them. I do not know how
their congregation would feel about their conviction over case", Lee disclosed remorsefully last
But, Lee became suspicious when Brown's demands for more money fro the transaction
became too frequent. The impression created was that top officials of the NNPC, particularly the
Group Managing Director (GMD), and the General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing, were making
demands that were stalling the approval of their crude oil allocation. They even said these
people were demanding the payment of the full amount of the allocation before any thing could
be done on the application.
Then, Lee and Daunette decided to visit Nigeria, to meet with these officials and attempt to
persuade them to cooperate. They did not let Brown and Bakindo know about their move.
Before they left the US, they set up a three-way communication link between them in Nigeria
and the office in the US, such that throughout their stay each time Brown or Bakindo called their
US lines, they would be answering as though they were in the US.
On arrival in Nigeria early last month, the first time in their lives, they had a meeting with the
General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing, NNPC, Alhaji Aminu Baba-Kusa at the NNPC office in
Abuja, where they presented the contract papers they claimed they had. After assessing the
documents, Baba-Kusa told them in unmistaken terms that what they had were fake. They were
devastated as they left the NNPC, but kept touch with Brown and Bakindo through calls routing
their US office. That arrangement continued for about ten days.
After due consultations with the US Embassy in Nigeria, they were advised to make a case with
the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu. They
promptly did. At the end of the briefing, the EFCC advised that since it was more money that
Brown and co wanted, another "investor" interested in buying even bigger quantity of Nigeria's
oil, should be arranged for them. Lee bought the idea, scouted and got a personality that fitted
the perfect description of a Swiss "investor". After briefing him about the deal, the' investor' was
lodged at Eko Le Meridien suites in Lagos. Then, Lee got in touch with Dr Brown and Alhaji
Bakindo to inform them of the Swiss business. Lee also requested and secured their
permission to give their contact telephone numbers to the Swiss, who, they were told, might be
desirous to either call them to discuss details of the transaction, or visit Nigeria to see them, to
be sure what they were doing was real, before making the necessary payments. Everything
looked tidy, and they obliged. The setting was thus right for the hunted to hunt the hunter.
As soon as the "investor" settled down, he put a call through to Brown informing him of his arrival
in Nigeria and the need for a meeting as soon as possible to seal the transaction.
Brown's excitement knew no bounds. He was too glad over the prospect of a bigger deal. His
only worry was the "investor's" demand for the meeting to hold at his instance at his suite. He
smelt a rat and demanded relocation to his hotel. At the insistence of the investor, he conceded.
But, before setting out for the meeting, he called Lee's US line trying to find out what was amiss.
But, Lee was fully in the know about what was going on, feign ignorance in his reply, and
encouraged him to keep the appointment, since he was sure they had nothing to hide.
For about five hours they kept calling Lee's US line. They sounded worried as if they sensed
something ominous. The waiting game was becoming frustrating for Lee and the "investor". But,
just as they were about to give up, Brown's call came through to Lee's phone, assuring him he
was on his way to keep the appointment. Lee's only request was for him to ensure that before
the meeting commenced he asked the investor to call and speak with him, to ensure that he
was dealing with the real Brown.
Brown agreed and left for le Meridien for the meeting. On arrival, he called the "investor" to
come down and meet with him. The "investor" obliged, but before going upstairs together
Brown introduced the other person that was with him as his bodyguard. In reality, the supposed
bodyguard was Alhaji Bakindo, his partner in crime.
On getting to the "investor's" room, Bakindo, acting his script as bodyguard, opened the hotel's
bathroom to check there was nobody there. Then, Brown, ostensibly not wanting the "investor"
to incur any expenses using his phone, rather than allow the "investor" to use his phone to call
Lee, did so with his, saying: "Donald, I am here with the investor, speak to Mr Henri Billow. I call
you personally on my phone". Lee's conversation with the "investor" confirmed Brown's identity.
When the phone was handed over to Brown, Lee told him he was confident that he was capable
of handling the negotiations with the "investor" on their behave, as they were very interested in
getting the crude oil allocation.
Just as they were settling down for discussions with the "investor", there was a knock on the
hotel room door. Unknown to them, it was the police and the EFCC officials. When Bakindo
sought to know who was at the door, the answer was: "Room Service". And as Bakindo
opened, the team swooped on them and rounded the two of them up. The duo on seeing Lee
and the wife knew the game and the deal were up.
22 AUG 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
"Abacha's - daughter" dupes American N980m
An American ,Mr. Timothy Hassen, has become the latest victim of an advance fee fraud
involving N980 million by a woman who presented herself to the American as one of the
daughters of late dictator, General Sani Abacha.
The woman, later identified as Linda Ozoamaka by detectives from the Economic and
Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), had introduced herself to Mr. Hassen as a daughter of
General Abacha to convince him to part with about $7million.
The Abacha's fake daughter, believed to be presently hiding in London, had allegedly in 1999
presented a proposal to the American, intimating him that the late General left $100billion in a
coded account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and asked Hansen to contribute about
$7million towards getting the money out of the CBN vaults.
According to EFCC detectives, Linda Ozoamaka promised the American 30 per cent of the
$100billion on the condition that Mr. Hassen supplied his letter head paper with which she would
write the CBN for the release and his account number to which the loot was to be transferred.
Quoting a report lodged with the EFCC, detectives said that Ozoamaka later requested for $5
million, which she claimed, would be used to bribe some top officials of the CBN to get the
money out of the bank and ultimately out of the country.
On receipt of the money, she was said to have traveled to Ghana where she lodged at an hotel
and lived like a queen.
Ozoamaka, according to the EFCC officials, demanded another $2 million from the American
under the pretext that the $5 million earlier requested was not enough to secure the release of
the $100 billion from the CBN.
The American, it was learnt, made the fresh payment, into a London account on the instruction of
Linda Ozoamaka later returned to Enugu State with her loot and built a hotel, which she
allegedly named the Golden Tulip Hotel after the one she stayed in Ghana.
Detectives working on the case, Saturday Independent learnt, had already seized the hotel in Enugu State in addition to some posh cars.
EFCC spokesman, Mr. Osita Uwaja, confirmed to Saturday Independent that the International
Police (Interpol) had already been informed and are on the trail of Linda.
Mr. Uwaja also disclosed that a Lexus Jeep, a Mercedes Benz car and a Honda car had been impounded from the premises of Linda Ozoamaka in Enugu.
He said only the Honda car was brought to Lagos while the Lexus Jeep and the Mercedes
Benz car are in the custody of the New Haven Police station in Enugu.
20 AUG 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
$242m Scam: Court Refuses Bail Applications for Anajemba
By Abimbola Akosile
Hope by three accused persons Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Chief Emmanuel Nwude, and Mr.
Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, to regain their freedom pending trial before an Ikeja High Court, were
dashed as presiding judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, refused and dismissed their bail
He instead insisted on accelerated trial with trial dates set for October 4, 5, and 6th.
The accused persons were re-arraigned in a de novo trial in Lagos on Friday, July 23rd by the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for their alleged involvement in a $242
million Advance Fee Fraud a.k.a. 419 scam, following an Abuja High Court dismissal of the
former 86 count charge brought against the accused persons, allegedly for lack of jurisdiction
since the offences were committed within Lagos jurisdiction.
Even though accused persons' counsel had relied on Section 35(4) (a) of 1999 Constitution on
right to liberty pending trial, Justice Oyewole had affirmed that the 95-count charge against the
suspects were serious and attracted severe punishment upon conviction.
In a forty-five minute ruling yesterday, Justice Oyewole said, "there is no absolute and unlimited
guarantee of liberty. Necessary demands of good governance and orderliness in society
cannot allow for such. From Section 35 of the Constitution, it is clear that a person can be
deprived of his liberty upon his being reasonably suspected of committing a criminal offence".
"Court still has discretion to exercise in deciding whether or not to grant accused persons bail.
The exercise of this discretion must be made judicially and judiciously taking into consideration relevant laws and principles. Subject to proof at trial, I hold that there is in existence prima facie
evidence against the accused applicants, which could possibly induce them to evade trial", he
16 AUG 2004
Dr. Femi Ajayi of Atlanta, GA has published an
interesting essay on the Nigeriaworld website
called "The Nigeria Image Project - The Way
to Go". It is a bit long to present here, and only
partially deals with 419, but for those interested
here is the URL for as long as it is good:
17 AUG 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
Two nabbed in N672m crude oil scam
By Bassey Udo
Snr correspondent, Abuja
Hunters became the hunted last week in Abuja as an attempt by Nigerian fraud (419)
syndicates to steal more money from American businessmen in a $4.8 million (N672 million) oil
Two members of the syndicate who posed as representatives of Hyson Nigeria Limited, one of
the commercial and investment arms of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),
are now helping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its investigations.
The syndicate, operated by Benjamin Brown and Mohammed Bakindo, was said to have
duped Resource Petroleum and Petrochemicals International Incorporated, a commodity
trading company based in Long Island City, New York, United States, of about $500,000 before
they landed in security net.
The amount was the initial fees of $50,000 and $450,000 the company paid for "crude allocation
assignment fees" by the NNPC and "wharf charges" by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for
six million barrels of crude valued at about $4.8 million.
Resource Petroleum President Damon Lee and its Vice President Daunette Chung said in an
interview in Abuja that they have been in Nigeria in the last one month on the trail of the duo who
they said impersonated the General Manager of Hyson and his counterpart in the Crude Oil
Marketing Division of the NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa.
Both men were introduced to Lee and his deputy by another Nigerian who is resident in the U.S.
and working with Globex International when they showed interest in trading in Nigerian oil.
Said Lee :"I had a contract signed with Muhammed Bakindo who claimed to be the Managing
Director of Hyson Nigeria Limited. Things appeared to have moved well until he began to ask
for more money to secure our allotment and for shipping.
"When we suspected they were cunning us into paying the full cost of $4.8 million before the
allotment, we thought we should come to Nigeria to meet and speak with the individuals we
were told were holding our allocation the Group Managing Director of the NNPC (Funsho
Kupoloku) and its General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing (Aminu Baba-Kusa)".
Lee said on arrival in the country, it became obvious that the deal is a fraud, as Baba-Kusa
declared that the contract documents are fake. The company is doing business with Nigeria for
the first time.
The men reported the case to the EFCC on discovering that they have been swindled.
"When we came to Aminu Baba-Kusa, and after he told us that the documents were fake, we
decided that we should meet the Chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, who suggested that since it
was more money that the syndicate wanted, an investor' should be arranged for more volumes
of the commodity".
It was in the process of the syndicate going to seal the deal for more crude allocation for the
Swiss "investor" at the Eko Le Meridien Hotel in Lagos that Brown, said to be the Pastor of an
unnamed Pentecostal church in Lagos, and his accomplice Bakindo, a Muslim, were rounded
up by security operatives.
"I have never seen somebody so prayerful like Dr Benjamin Brown. I have lost count of the
times he and my wife prayed together on phone or reading the Bible for hours.
"And Mohammed Bakindo, my brother in Islam, I have never seen a person so devoted to his
faith. He always told me as an Alhaji he could not tell lies. And I believed them. I do not know
how their congregation would feel about their conviction over this case", Lee said.
11 AUG 2004
From the San Diego CityBeat (also see companion piece
which immediately follows this one):
GREETINGS FROM AFRICA
Are you gullible enough ~and greedy enough~ to be victimized by the 419 scammers?
by David Rolland
I don’t know how often former heads of foreign states in desperate need of assistance and
nowhere else to turn contact you for help, but it happens to me very infrequently.
So, imagine my surprise that day back in March when Charles Taylor, the former embattled
president of Liberia, contacted me. Of all the people around the world he could have asked for
help, he turned to little ol’ me in his time of need. Well, of course, I was honored. I didn’t even
realize he knew me.
And, man, was Taylor ever in a pickle.
Using an e-mail address of a fellow named Jeftrey Good must be a close friend of Taylor’s—the
former Liberian leader noted how he had recently been forced to resign as the president of
Liberia in West-Africa by the United Nations / international communities which was
spearheaded by the American president, Mr. George-Bush. In exile in Calabar, Nigeria, Taylor
told me he had $200 million that he needed to get into a foreign bank account in the worst way.
Evidently, being the Liberian president is highly lucrative. If indeed he earned that money while
president, that comes to $33 million for each year of his six-year reign. In any case, he said the
money is his future hope.
I am being monitored and I do not want to take chances, Taylor explained. For your information,
my communication and movements are under strict surveillance. That must be why he’s using
Jeftrey Good’s e-mail account. Taylor instructed me to communicate with him through his
attorney and close confidant, Dennis George, and he kindly gave me George’s e-mail address.
He said his lawyer would be able to establish an investment with your assistance on my behalf
until I come out of my travail and tormentors.
Travail? Tormentor? Sounded like Taylor was in quite a spot. I like to think I’m the kind of guy
who lends a hand when someone truly needs it. But this Charles Taylor fellow - I don’t know, he
was indicted for horrible atrocities last year by a special United Nations war-crimes court, which
he neglected to mention in his e-mail to me.
Taylor was charged with arming the Revolutionary United Front, a paramilitary rebel group that,
at the time, was engaged in a nasty, ongoing skirmish with the government of neighboring
Sierra Leone. Apparently, the U.N. court judges determined that Taylor must have been aware
that the beneficiaries of his largess were going about their business in rather violent ways
allegedly killing, mutilating, raping and kidnapping tens of thousands of people as they battled
the government for control of Sierra Leone and its coveted diamond mines. Rumor has it, these
thugs chopped off arms, legs, noses and breasts of lots of people, including children.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to do business with a character carrying this sort of unsavory
Then again, Taylor offered me 40 percent of the $200 million. That $80 million could come in
handy. And he seems awfully polite: I wait patiently for your response. Yours truly. Charles
Taylor. Ex-president of Liberia.
Truth be told, the guy attempting to pass himself off as Charles Taylor isn’t the only person from
Africa who’s contacted me in the past few months. Since March, I’ve saved 29 e-mails from
people claiming to be in desperate straits in exotic locales such as Liberia, Sierra Leone,
Benin, the Congo, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, South Africa, Ghana, Angola, Zambia and Nigeria, not to
mention the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula. (Please see sidebar, Friends in
The creative stories vary in detail, but they each involve the need to move lots of money into a
foreign account, which the e-mail writers claim they can’t do themselves, for various reasons.
Each one promises me a handsome sum in exchange for my assistance.
Afoot here is foul play - illegal scams intended to separate e-mail recipients, made gullible by
visions of vast riches, from their money. It’s called a 419 scam, named for the section in the
Nigerian criminal code for this sort of financial malfeasance. It’s a rather widespread
phenomenon chances are, the former president of Liberia has requested your help, too.
It’s been going on since the early 1980s, says Charles Pascale, the Virginia-based coordinator
of the 419 Coalition, an organization that operates an online clearinghouse of information on 419
scams so that others looking into 419 matters would not have to start from scratch in their
When told of the Charles Taylor e-mail, Pascale forwarded to me a small sampling of variations
on the Taylor 419 that he had accumulated. Taylor 419 is a kind of Classic 419, Pascale said, a
relatively simple request to move money into a foreign account. There’s also Black Currency,
Oil Scam 419, Lottery 419, Charitable Organization 419, Cashier’s Check 419, Real Estate
419,Extortion 419 and Goods and Services 419, which includes eAuction 419.
They’re all different means to the same end: to get the victim to voluntary send the 419er money.
Once the victim is hooked by the initial solicitation, he or she is asked to pay some sort of
advance fee a transfer tax or a performance bond, for example, or asked to refund change on
a phony check sent to the victim by the 419er. Inevitably, complications arise, and the victim,
who by this time has likely reached a point of no return, is asked to pay still more unforeseen
fees. All this is why the scam is also called advance-fee fraud. Common misconceptions are
that victims are always asked to do something illegal or unethical although there are some
cases of that and that 419ers do their thing by conning a victim out of his or her banking
information and then bleeding the account dry.
The scam was started by the Nigerians, and to this day it’s still mostly the Nigerians who are
doing it, although copycat opportunists from other African nations have at times gotten in on the
act. Despite international efforts to police 419 scams, only a handful of Nigerians have ever
been convicted, and very little money has been recovered. (Please see sidebar, Exercise in
In the beginning, victims received scam letters through the U.S. mail. When the Postal Service
cracked down and began intercepting mail postmarked in Nigeria, the 419ers, as they’re
called, started using the fax machine, and then e-mail.
I can still remember back in 1997 or so, Pascale said, when the No. 2 man of the Joint West
African Fraud Task Force and I were discussing the inevitable move of the 419ers from letter
and fax to e-mail. We knew, of course, that would be an awful mess.
However, Pascale said the move to e-mail also presented an opportunity. At the time, counter-
419ers had the chance to get a jump on the scammers, as the counter-419ers had the
technology before the 419ers did, he said. The good guys had a window of opportunity to put
systems in place to contain the spread of 419 via the web and e-mail, but the 419ers caught up
and overwhelmed any potential countermeasures before they could be put in place. Our side
simply was unable to move fast enough to capitalize on the window of opportunity available to
One high-profile victim was Chula Vista’s own James Adler, owner of a Tijuana furniture store,
who received a 419 solicitation back in the early 1990s. Adler agreed to set up a foreign
account, where the 419ers would deposit $130 million ostensibly stolen from a previous
Nigerian regime. Adler’s take was to be $60 million. Several years and numerous trips to meet
with government and banking officials in Nigeria later, Adler was out more than $5 million. He
took the case to court, but a Superior Court judge, backed by an appeals court, ruled that since
the original solicitation was, on its face, proposing a criminal transaction, and since Adler
knowingly agreed to it, his hands were "unclean." He got nothing.
However, the Adler case was significant in that it was the first time a court determined that some
Nigerian government officials were in on the scam.
I told Pascale that the e-mails I’ve received are obviously the work of flimflam men, and I asked
him how people so easily allow themselves to be fooled. He seemed to take umbrage at the
implication that one must be a dimwitted boob to fall prey to the 419. Victims, usually successful
and well-educated, do their due diligence, he said, and still get ripped off.
Targets will do things like get the number of the organization their contact supposedly works for
say the Central Bank of Nigeria from directory assistance, call the number, ask for their contact
by name, get put through to him by the switchboard and discuss the deal, Pascale said.
Sometimes they will fly to Nigeria and meet with their contacts in bona fide Nigerian government
offices this was also testified to before Congress by U.S. government officials.
What happens, he said, is that everything they check out checks out, so the targets send the
money. Then after the 419ers have bled the target dry, then all of a sudden * poof* nothing
checks out. So, in short, the 419ers are excellent in convincing their targets of the viability of the
deal. After all, they are arguably the best conmen in the world.
But Robert Heyer, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s San Diego
field office, said there’s something else at play.
This type of fraud is successful, I think, because it kind of operates on a piece of human nature
that we don’t always like to recognize that we have, and that’s greed, Heyer said. If you fall
victim to this, you are kind of looking to get something for nothing.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
11 AUG 2004
From the San Diego CityBeat (companion to the above piece):
EXERCISE IN FUTILITY
Ever hear the one about the people who tried to combat 419 scams?
by David Rolland
Anti-419 activists say that in the roughly 20-year history of the crime, only about a dozen people
have ever been convicted, according to the Nigerian government’s own figures. It is a crime
with little to no downside - fighting it is next to impossible.
In 2002, the Nigerians established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and
charged it with among other things, enforcing that country’s Advance Fee Fraud and Other
Fraud Related Offences Act 1995, but American activists say no new convictions have resulted
To date, said activist Charles Pascale, coordinator of the 419 Coalition, law enforcement
agencies worldwide have been unable to deal effectively with the problem. Of the $500 million
in 419ed monies the EFCC says it has recovered, not one cent of those monies has yet been
repatriated to victims.
Pascale said 419 scams defraud Americans alone to the tune of $300 million a year, and $700
million worldwide. He gets his numbers from the testimony before a congressional
subcommittee of the head of the now-defunct Joint West African Fraud Task Force. Multiplying
$700 million by 20 years, Pascale comes to $14 billion, which he downsizes a bit and arrives at
a conservative estimate of $10 billion in worldwide losses to date.
The biggest single loss anyone has ever heard of is a Brazilian bank, which lost $242 million
dollars through the involvement of a top executive, he said.
Brian Wizard, an investigative novelist and 419 expert, told CityBeat in an e-mail interview that,
in the world of advance-fee fraud, law enforcement is an exercise of futility. No government has
the time, money or manpower to police the world’s 419 criminals. To compound the problem,
Nigeria itself has never been up for the challenge of dismantling one of its greatest cash-flow
If law enforcement worldwide could arrest, detain, put out of commission each and every 419
operative working today, Wizard added, such 419 operatives would be replaced by more
enthusiastic and hungry 419 operatives tomorrow.
Wizard said the handful of arrests in the U.S. have resulted in some jail time, but for the most
part, convicts are deported and welcomed home as heroes.
Investigating and prosecuting 419 crimes is tricky business, said Robert Heyer, assistant
special agent in charge of the San Diego field office. The agency would certainly like to be
more successful, Heyer said, but agents need good suspect leads, which are difficult to come
by, and the suspects have to be in the U.S. We can’t go outside of our borders to make an
arrest, he said.
First of all, we have to know who’s perpetrating this crime, and in today’s electronic world, it is
very easy to obscure who you are as you perpetrate this crime. It is a very difficult crime to
Most often, 419ers are overseas. In such cases, information has to be shared with the host
country. Even though you may have a country that we’ve developed a rapport with, Heyer said,
it may be a country [where] some people are paid to look the other way.
With good, solid leads on suspects hard to come by, and given the jurisdictional constraints,
the U.S. government pretty much has to fall back on educational outreach to fight 419 crime.
The U.S. Secret Service has all but thrown in the towel on combating the 419, Wizard said.
They have decentralized the data gathering and, the last they told me, have pulled their 419
agents out of Nigeria and dismantled their 419 Task Force. Why? It was all an exercise of futility
counting stolen money and victims.
If Wizard were in charge, he’d start investigating links between advance-fee fraud and terrorism,
and he has suggested that tack to U.S. law-enforcement agencies.
It is a simple picture to draw, he said, if one had the desire and resources to do so. The
Department of Homeland Security cares nothing about the 419 success at stealing millions of
dollars from the U.S.A. yearly. What’s that all about? Why the lack of concern by those paid to
protect us from fraud and financial terrorism?
It’s enough to leave an investigative novelist awfully frustrated.
Tell your readers that it is their responsibility to become educated and updated on all 419 scam
operations, Wizard said. They cannot depend on our government’s law enforcement agencies
to protect them in any way whatsoever.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
28 JUL 2004
From TheChamplainChannel.com NBC Channel 5 Plattsburgh, NY:
'Nigerian Scam' Snags Local Couple
Eric Brown Duped After Selling Harley Over Internet
Each day, the Secret Service hears from hundreds of people who have lost thousands of
dollars in a so-called "Nigerian Internet scam." Now, the scammers actually send you a check.
A couple in the Champlain Valley fell victim to the scam.
Eric Brown considers himself computer savvy. He and his girlfriend thought it would be easy to
make some cash selling items on the Internet.
Last month they were selling a baby Harley on eBay, and were contacted by a man in Nigeria
who wanted to buy it. After a couple of e-mails, a deal was made.
The man sent a check to pay for the bike and the shipping. The catch -- Brown had to send
some of that money back to pay the shipping charge.
"He sent us a check for $4,500, and we sent $1,800 back to him. A week later, the check came
Brown was a victim of what authorities call "the Nigerian scam."
Police said they've been getting calls from all over the country about the scam. They say that
most of the scam artists never get caught.
Now, Brown thinks twice before heading to the Internet to make some extra cash.
"Now that I lost money, I want people to know about this," Brown said.
Here is the URL for as long as it is good:
27 JUL 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
Scotland Yard absolves Ajudua of forgery
By Victor Efeizomor
Law Reporter, Lagos
A Scotland Yard police detective has told an Ikeja High Court that the forged signature of the
former Finance Minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, was not traceable to Mr. Fred Ajudua.
The detective, Mr. Barry Bryan, who investigated the Advance Fee Fraud (419) case involving
Ajudua and Charles Orie who allegedly swindled a British national, Remi Cima, of the sum $2
million (N2.72 billion), said the letter sent to Cima purportedly emanating from the ministry of
finance could not be traced to Ajudua.
Bryan said on Monday during a cross-examination by Ajudua's counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, that
during his investigation, the bank accounts used to transfer the money and the telephone
number did not have any link with the first accused person, Fred Ajudua.
He also told the court presided over by Justice Joseph Oyewale that when the case was
reported to the Scotland Yard, he detailed some of his men to carry out the investigation and
that several search and arrests were made in London in connection with the scam but that
Ajudua was never arrested neither did any of the documents recovered during the search have
any link with the accused.
Bryan added that all the information received during the investigation in London and Nigeria
were supplied by one David Gold and Cima, victims of the alleged scam, explaining that their
findings did not show whether Ajudua or his wife, Princess, received any money into their
account in respect of the scam.
Justice Oyewale has, however, granted bail to Orie, Ajudua's co-accused on health grounds
after his counsel made an oral application drawing attention to the state of his health.
19 JUL 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
'419' operators devise new tricks
Stories by Alex Oni,
Head, Crime Desk
Emmanuel Saloka was in his posh office in Port Harcourt when a call came in from Lagos. The
person on the other side of the phone was a complete stranger. All the same, he introduced
himself as a representative of a group of international businessmen, who are interested in doing
business with their Nigerian counterparts.
He further told Saloka that he got his phone number from a business associate, who
recommended him as a dependable businessman they can do business with.
For a start, he verbally instructed Saloka to supply N800,000 worth of plantain, which will be
shipped to some unnamed business associate in Switzerland.
Saloka could not believe his good fortune. That he could get a contract that would fetch him
over N5 million for supplying N800,000 worth of unripe plantain on phone.
He immediately put certain machineries in motion. First, he secured a loan from his bank and
headed for Suleja where he purchased the plantain and chartered a trailer at an exorbitant price
to take the goods to Lagos.
He was instructed to discharge the goods at a designated place in Lagos. For his payment, he
was asked to report to an office at No. 21, Wole Ogunjimi Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja.
It was on getting to Wole Ogunjimi Street that he was told he would paid an extra N1.4 million as
"insurance fee" before they could release the N5 million to him.
Saloka was a little bit confused. He, however, reassured himself that even with the payment of
additional N1.4 million "insurance fee" and the haulage cost, he still stands to make close to N3
Consequently, Saloka went to his bankers again and asked for an additional N1.4 million loan,
which was granted.
Promptly, Saloka delivered the money to his "business partners" hoping his claims would be
This was not to be as he was asked to check back in two weeks time.
Two weeks after Saloka reported back at No 21, Wole Ogunjimi Street, Ikeja, and was told he
would pay an additional $7,000 as "service charge".
It was at this stage it dawned on Saloka that he had been duped. Everything now fell in place,
but he quickly adjusted himself and decided to pay the fraudsters back in their own coin.
He promised his supposedly "business partners" he would make the money available within
However, he contacted the police at Area "A", Lion Building, Lagos and a trap was set for the
He lodged at a hotel in Ikeja, and called the fraudsters to come to his hotel room and pick up
One of the fraudsters, who claimed to be a driver to the gang, appeared at Saloka's Country
Club Hotel room at noon on December 26, 2003, to pick up the money. A team of armed police
detectives, who had laid ambush around the hotel immediately arrested him and whisked him
His arrest led to the arrest of two other members of the gang.
The gang made confessional statements that they were actually out to "clean-up" Saloka. On
the night of the arrest, the gang refunded N100,000 and promised to refund the rest.
The police at Lion Building released them on bail on condition that they report at the station on a
daily basis with a view to repaying Saloka's money.
However, after many months, and despite repeated demands, the fraudsters failed to make
any more repayments.
Consequently, the police arraigned them before Chief Magistrate O. A. Isaac of the Igbosere
Chief Magistrate's Court on a two-count criminal charge.
Prosecuting Police Officer, Mr. Albert Ebhota (ASP), alleged in the charge that the three
accused persons, Jelili Balogun (32), Tafa Adegoke and Hamed Jide Balogun, conspired on
December 26, 2003, at noon, at the Country Club, Lagos, to commit felony by obtaining money
under false pretences, an offence punishable with imprisonment under section 516 of the
The second count alleged that the three accused persons fraudulently obtained a total of N2.2
million from Emmanuel Saloka under false pretences, an offence punishable under section 419
of the criminal code.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty and Chief Magistrate O. A. Isaac granted them bail.
In a related development, a Lagos-based businessman, Alhaji Hamsat Anifowoshe (52), has
appeared before the same court, accused of fraudulently obtaining N2.4 million from a
The police at zone II command, Onikan, alleged that sometime in April, 2003, at 10 a.m., at 57,
Olorunsogo Street, Mushin, Lagos, Alhaji Anifowoshe conspired with some other suspects now
at large to commit felony by fraudulently obtaining N1.2 million from Bunmi Adewale under false
pretence that he had some provisions valued at N2.4 million, which he would supply to his
Also docked was Joe Iyiola Ojo, for allegedly stealing N2,250,000 from Victor Properties
Also in the dock are two Lebanese, Nahel Mansour (45), Norbert Mafeni (42) and their Nigerian
partner, Oladele Olagbaju (37).
The police alleged that on or before March 25, this year, the accused persons conspired
among themselves and fraudulently obtained N63,650,000 from Ms. Yemisi Stella Abiola, on the
pretext that they had equivalent of the amount in dollars to give to her, which they failed to do nor
returned her N63 million.
16 JUL 2004
From The Register, a UK newspaper:
Charges against Amsterdam 419ers dismissed
By Jan Libbenga
The Dutch Department of Justice yesterday suffered bitter defeat in a court case against
thirteen West African men, who allegedly sent thousands of 419 or advance fraud fee letters
through the Amsterdam cable network of UPC. The court ruled that there wasn't enough
evidence to link the suspects individually to the scams.
Earlier this year Dutch police arrested 52 Nigerian email scammers at 23 locations in
Amsterdam in what was believed to be the biggest raid of its kind. Police confiscated several
PCs, mobile phones, false documents and € 50,000 in cash, as well as illegal cable modems
provided by a UPC employee who is still at large.
The Dutch fraud squad believed the criminals sent more than 100,000 messages to victims in
Japan and the USA, offering them vast profits in return for their help in a dubious business
scheme. Some of the suspects were deported immediately by the Dutch alien registration
department, while others were kept detained.
Altough Dutch police was able to confiscate several cable modems, mobile phones, PCs with
spamming software and an ironing board with a list of names of fake companies and directors,
none of the suspects were caught red-handed. And not a single PC was switched on when the
police searched their houses. The fact that people were present in these buildings, the court
ruled, was insufficient for a conviction.
The Department of Justice has yet to decide if it will appeal the ruling.
Last year, Dutch prosecutors had more success when the courts sentenced six Nigerian
scammers to between 301 days and 4.5 years for email fraud. The evidence in this case
provided enough support for a conviction: police had tapped their phones.
Here is the URL for as long as it is good:
419 Coalition Note: Our associates Ultrascan in the Netherlands
had these remarks concerning the above: "Of the 52 arrested in January
only 14 were prosecuted, the rest were send back to their country immediately.
The 14 prosecuted were all but 1 released by the court on not enough evidence
for organized 419 email fraud, the prosecutor could not proof who was behind
the computer when the mostly initial 419 spam was sent...." So it would seem
that of the 52 arrested, 38 were deported, and 14 prosecuted - of which 13 were
released and one held for trial etc.
16 JUL 2004
From NewAge Online, a Nigerian news publication. Sent in by
a concerned Nigerian:
FG to return $300m to 419 victims abroad
By TONY IKPASAJA and UMAR AFEGBUA, Abuja
The Federal Government underlined its determination to improve on its
international image with the disclosure by Vice-President Atiku Abubakar
yesterday that about $300million belonging to victims of 419 scams
perpetrated by Nigerians wouldon.
The Vice-President who was represented by the FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir
el-Rufai during the presentation of a documentary film titled Brain
Drain in Nigeria, organised by the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA),
in Abuja, also revealed that over $3 billion was invested in the
nation's economy by Nigerians in the diaspora in 2003 alone, giving hope
that more may subsequently come in. El-Rufai defended the current
economic policies of President Olusegun Obasanjo and said they were
targeted to change the fortunes of the nation...
[other non-419 related material omitted]
12 JUL 2004
From the Daily Times, a Nigerian newspaper:
NBA accuses Ribadu of constitutional breaches, threatens legal action
By Rotimi Fadeyi
Senior Correspondent, Abuja
The Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) Abuja branch has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Chairman of the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, within which to apologise for blaming the judiciary for the high
incidence of Advance Fee Fraud cases.
The NBA, which also accused Ribadu of carrying out activities of the commission with sheer disregard for the provisions of the
1999 Constitution, said Ribadu should retract the statement he made to the judiciary and tender apology within the seven days
or face legal action.
The NBA Chairman in Abuja, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN), while reacting to statements credited to Ribadu said, " If by seven
days Ribadu failed to tender an apology, the association would commence action against him."
He added, "In the event of non compliance with the forgoing. the NBA, Abuja Branch, shall be consistent with its resolve to
uphold the constitution of Nigeria, set the machinery in motion to challenge in a court of law the above mentioned constitutional
breaches as well as every other section of the EFCC Act 2002 perceived to be in violation of the provisions of the constitution.
"Additionally, the NBA shall take steps and ensure that the names of the Chairman of the EFCC and all lawyers in the EFCC
who abet the commission of such violations shall be placed in the black book of the NBA."
11 JUL 2004
From the Daily Independent. a Nigerian newspaper:
4-1-9: Ghanaian arrested over N135m oil deal
A Ghanaian, Aliyu Abubakar has been arrested by the police in Nigeria for alleged advance fee fraud (419) scam amounting
to $1million (about N135m).
His arrest came on the heels of recent crackdown on foreigners engaged in nefarious activities in the country, resulting in the
smashing of a syndicate specialized in pirating home videos.
Task Force of the Nigerian Copyrights Commission had penultimate week arrested 12 Chinese nationals operating an illegal
factory in the Ikeja area axis of Lagos, prompting a renewed crackdown on pirates, including foreigners.
Saturday Independent learnt that the arrest of the latest suspect, Abubakar, who runs a Bureau de Change on the premises of
the Airport Taxi Park, Ikeja, Lagos, was reportedly effected penultimate Wednesday after a tip-off.
He is alleged to have operated a fake business company in London where he duped unsuspecting victims before fleeing to
Abubakar's alleged negative activities came to light two years ago when the British Police (Scotland Yard) got wind of his
operations and swung into action. Apart from blacklisting his fake company, the British Police were said to have also frozen his
bank account, necessitating the relocation of his business.
While in Nigeria, he alleged operated the Bureau de change as a cover for other dastardly acts, and was not suspected by
anyone until t**he bubble burst recently.
Police sources disclosed to Saturday Independent that Abubakar's fake oil deal with some undisclosed Americans put him in
the latest trouble. He was said to have made a clean sweep of $1m from the Americans, who sensing that they had been
duped promptly petitioned the Inspector-General of Police in Nigeria who in turn ordered his men to swing into action.
But, the suspect was said to have squandered some of the money when the arrest was effected, but police detectives were
also said to have traced a part of it to a property worth N36m at Adeniyi Jones Ikeja, including three posh cars and another
properly in his country home Ghana.
1 JUL 2004
From the Register, a UK newspaper:
Nigeria failing to tackle 419ers
By Jan Libbenga
Roughly 200 Nigerians are currently serving jail terms for advance fee or 419 fraud around the world,
Malam Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),
told a seminar in Abuja this week. But in Nigeria itself not a single person has been sentenced yet.
About 500 suspected fraudsters are currently detained by the commission in various detention centres
across Nigeria, but they still await trial, according to afternoon daily P.M. News.
Malam Nuhu Ribadu says Nigeria is the only country in the world that has failed to apply special laws
or establish dedicated "front offices" to combat the crimes. "The commission believes that some of the
419 cases are facilitated by highly-placed, corrupt government officials," he added. On the positive
side, though, the EFCC managed to recover properties worth over $500m from the Lads from Lagos.
Sixty per cent of 419 scam letters still originate from Nigeria, Malam Nuhu Ribadu told the seminar. In
the near future these letters may end up in a new national data base for 'referral purposes'. Although
that probably won’t stop our lads from bombarding you with requests to spirit away $33,000,000 in illicit
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
30 JUN 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
419/Money Laundering: NSA Heads Harmonisation Panel
The Federal Government has established a committee to harmonise and strengthen
government machinery in the control of advance fee fraud, otherwise called 419 as well as
money laundering in Nigeria.
The committee headed by the National Security Adviser, Lt Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau
(Rtd), would also resolve all areas of conflict in the roles of para-military organisations in the
fight against advance fee fraud and money laundering.
Gusau who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the Third National Seminar on Economic
Crimes expressed the Federal Government's concern over the conflicting roles of the para-
military organisations, which threatened to make the war against the twin-headed scourge
According to him, "the committee, which is under my chairmanship, is expected to ascertain if
the conflicts emanated from the laws establishing the agencies or as a result of personality
"The committee's work is progressing and it is hoped that at the end of the assignment the
functions of the government machineries responsible for the control of economic crimes and
money laundering, would have been streamlined."
He pointed out that the Money Laundering Amendment Act (2004) has made the fight against
the nefarious act a dual responsibility of both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
"The argument is that laundered money comes not only from narcotics but also from criminal
elements and even from terrorist organisations. This dual responsibility has created its own
problems, namely competition, lack of cooperation and unnecessary duplication of energy and
resources in pursuit of similar objectives.
"Even our foreign partners and donor agencies sometimes find it difficult to know which agency
to deal with in the area of money laundering," he said.
Gusau added that apart from the EFCC and NDLEA, other para-military organisations, by virtue
of their enabling laws, were also involved in one way or the other, in the fight against advance
fee fraud and money laundering.
"For instance", he said, "the Nigerian Police Force is primarily responsible for the detention and
prevention of all forms of crimes in the country. It has a unit called Special Fraud Unit, which
formed the nuclear of EFCC. "Similarly, the Nigeria Customs Service is involved in such
economic crimes like smuggling, under-declaration of goods, fake importation of documents,
It shares this responsibility with EFCC. "Even in the field of money laundering, the NCS is also
indirectly concerned. This is because laundered money is sometimes used to import flashy
cars, precious metals and valuable jewellery and antiques,"
While noting that the banking sector was not the only one guilty of complicity in advance fee
fraud and money laundering schemes, he, however, assured that the EFCC was ready,
equipped and sufficiently empowered to capture advance fee fraudsters and money
launderers and bring them to justice.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Director of Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN), Mr. Egnatius Imala, attributed the persistence of money laundering in the financial
system to the failure of the Federal Government to criminalise the offence amongst all other
serious crimes as well as the rigid nature of bank secrecy.
Imala regretted that the money launderers took advantage of the weaknesses in the financial
system. He added that recent development in information technology have further made
financial transactions relatively easy and therefore vulnerable to the activities of money
He listed weaknesses in the financial system enjoyed by money launderers to include: no
required disclosure of the beneficial owner of an account or the true beneficiary of a transaction;
no mandatory requirement for reporting suspicious transactions; use of monetary instruments
payable to bearers; and patterns of evasion of exchange controls by nominally legitimate
Others according to him, are : limited or weak bank regulatory controls, extensive foreign
banking operations, limited asset seizure or confiscation capability, limited narcotics and
money laundering enforcement and investigative capabilities, countries with free trade zone,
countries where dollar is readily acceptable, and official corruption or laissez-faire attitude
toward the business and banking communities, among others.
Imala harped on the need to combat laundering of money from the proceeds of illicit drug
business, which enables transnational criminal organisations to penetrate, contaminate and
corrupt structures of government, legitimate commercial and financial system, and the society at
He warned that "unchecked money laundering activities might erode the integrity of the nation's
financial system and adversely affect currency and interest rates."
Also, he said, "the money laundering activities are becoming increasingly more elusive, well
financed and technologically empowered and have developed strong determination to subvert
financial system, which are basically the pivot of legitimate international transactions."
He therefore advocated that efforts should be made to enhance inter-agency co-operation in
the fight against advance fee fraud and money laundering.
Similar articles appeared in the Daily Independent and other
419 Coalition comment: Over the years there has been committee after
committee etc. etc. in Nigeria set up to deal with 419. The best of these so
far is the EFCC, which has at least made some 500 arrests though there has
yet to be any convictions. What is needed is Convictions and the Repatriation
of stolen monies! A good start would be the repatriation of Shahla Ghasemi's
stolen money which CBN accounced several years ago that it had recovered
and she Still has not gotten it..... How Government of Nigeria expects to
have Any credibility whatever in counter-419ing when things like that happen
is beyond us, new Committee to oversee the Committees notwithstanding.
29 JUN 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newspaper:
US set to freeze assets of corrupt Nigerian officials
By Chukwudi Abiandu, Night Editor (Lagos) and Chinedu Offor, Correspondent (Washington
America has put in place a facility that Nigerian anti-corruption crusaders may wish to explore in
the fight againstrupfficials who may have kept their stolen assets in banks in the United
The US Government has established the Department of Asset Forfeiture, through its attorney's
office, that would ferret out and confiscate ill-gotten wealth stashed away in that country.
A statement by Darren Kew, Assistant Professor (Dispute Resolution Programme) University of
Massachusetts, Boston, said using the Patriotic Act and other US criminal forfeiture statutes, the
office is designed to seize assets accumulated through criminal acts that either put the safety
and lives of a population at risk or act unethically in government or business.
These acts include, but not limited to: terrorism or supporting terrorist acts, narcotics trafficking,
corruption (such as theft, extortion, fraud, and money laundering) and violence.
It was learnt that Abuja is already taking advantage of the new agency by compiling a list of
suspected officials who may have questionable fat accounts in American banks.
Sources said the list is being put together by the Economic and Fiancial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) headed by Nuhu Ribadu.
They confirmed that previous requests by Nigeria to investigate or recover suspected funds
lodged in US banks were not successful because there was no enabling agency or law
specifically dealing with recovery of funds from foreign nationals or from American citizens who
have not been convicted of crime.
The agency will co-operate with countries to recover funds either looted from government
treasury or made through suspected activities such as terrorist acts, drugs, theft, embezzlement,
inflated contracts or other acts considered capable of putting at risk the lives of people or
unethical acts in government or business.
Nigeria may, however, have a difficult time proving its case going by the conditions attached to
any petition requesting for recovery of funds.
The petitioner must prove the existence of such funds, the accounts and the suspected source
of the money.
Nigerian embassy officials in the US are said to be working on locating some of the banks and
property allegedly purchased by several prominent Nigerians through questionable sources of
Kew explained that while it may be difficult to press direct charges against international
criminals, the US Government is capable of seizing any assets used instrumentally in the crime
Besides, American definition of an "asset used instrumentally in a crime" is purposefully left
flexible, but some examples might include: businesses through which money is laundered,
assets acquired internationally in order to hide stolen funds, property in which narcotics are held
or distributed, automobiles or other modes of transportation used directly to traffic narcotics, as
well as scales or other items used directly to assist in the crime. They government is also
capable of seizing assets that were the result of criminal acts, such as homes, automobiles, or
It stresses the individuality of each case and the specificity of any investigation towards these
criminal acts. While pointing out that it is difficult to provide a set of guidelines in response to the
recognition of these crimes, Kew said, however, that it is possible to alert the attorney's office to
any specific acts worthy of investigation, charges, and the search for punitive measures over to
He also made the point that since an investigation takes time and resources, it is necessary to
convince the attorney of the existence of a crime through evidence.
According to Kew, the department acknowledges that the greatest difficulty lies in the burden of
He added: "While it is possible to hand a case over for investigation through the US attorney's
office, it is necessary to convince them that a criminal act has taken place and that it is worthy of
an investigation. Obviously, the more evidence to be brought to their attention, the more
convincing one can be to ask them to begin an investigation.
"The most important point to gather as much pertinent and relevant information and evidence in
order to convince the department of asset forfeiture that a crime has been committed and an
investigation must take place. Once the office has taken over the investigation, all possible
attempts to seize any assets acquired through criminal acts will be taken. They will then make
any and all efforts to return moneys or property directly stolen from any individual or groups."
Kew, however, cautioned that the most important evidence to focus on, as well as possibly the
most difficult to find, lies in the origin of the funds. "If a group can prove where laundered or
stolen money came from, it is that much more possible to begin an investigation, freeze assets,
and return money to the victims of the crime. Once all resources for proof and evidence have
been exhausted, it is then possible to present said evidence to this office.
"Evidence and a request for further investigation may be presented directly to the Department
of Asset Forfeiture in the US attorney's office through Dan Claman at (202) 514-6340 or
Also, the Department of Asset Forfeiture acknowledged that in certain cases, it might also be
possible for a specific injured party to bring a private suit against a particular criminal and can
handle the investigation and suit themselves.
419 Coalition note: Perhaps US should not be in such a rush
to return stolen monies to Nigeria since Nigeria has refused for
years to return recovered monies to 419 victim Shaha Ghasemi
for several years now, though Central Bank of Nigeria certainly
announced the recovery of her funds with great public fanfare.
Reciprocity in repatriating funds would seem to be the proper
thing, after all....
29 JUN 2004
From the Daily Indendent, a Nigerian newspaper:
Only thieves have means to seek power, says Ribadu
By Sanya Adejokun
Senior Correspondent, Abuja
The institutionalisation of corruption in the 80s and 90s have led to a situation where only those
who have corruptly acquired wealth now have the means to get into government, the Chairman
of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has said.
He said this on Monday at the 3rd National Conference on Economic Crimes at the Shehu
Yar'Adua Centre in Abuja, vowing to do his utmost to stop the trend.
According to him, "The 80s and 90s witnessed the greatest trial times for Nigeria. Within the
span of these two decades, corruption, advance fee fraud and other economic and financial
crimes were institutionalised and entrenched into the key sectors of the economy.
"This preceded the emergence of a well syndicated cartel of criminals and fraudsters that
hijacked the affairs of both the public and private sectors of the nation. The result is that you
cannot get into government without being a criminal, a fraudster."
Speaking on the uprightness of his men, the EFCC chief said, "This country is worth dying for. At
the EFCC, we have a bunch of policemen who have decided to do something about the
situation and you will find people coming to report to me that this is the $10,000 that I have been
given and we will lodge it."
Ribadu quoted a recently published book that detailed the high-level corruption and
impoverishment of Nigeria and Nigerians especially since 1979. The book mentioned Alhaji
Shehu Shagari, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Late Gen. Sani Abacha and the
atrocities they allegedly perpetrated.
But he told journalists that, "We are fighting 419. We are fighting the private sector. There is
ICPC which is to fight public corruption. It is not like putting everything on the EFCC. Today we
have over 500 people involved in 419 in prison. How is it possible for one agency to do
everything? More so, the law says that public corruption is supposed to be with the ICPC. We
are the private sector side. The law does not even allow me to prosecute such things."
29 JUN 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Anti-graft panel tries 72 suspects, EFCC arrests 500 others
From Hendrix Oliomogbe (Benin) and
Mathias Okwe (Abuja)
There may be no hiding place any longer for corrupt officials and perpetrators of the Advance
Fee Fraud (419) as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) is presently
prosecuting about 72 persons while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
has arrested about 500 fraudsters.
Disclosing this yesterday, ICPC's Chairman, Justice Mustapha Akanbi who spoke on the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), expressed hope that with time, Nigeria shall overcome the
hydra-headed problem of corruption, which has eaten deep into the fabric of the society.
In the crusade against corruption, the ICPC, he maintained, is ready to sacrifice all sacred cows,
which is why some big fish, such as former ministers, a serving minister who was ignominously
dismissed, a permanent secretary and two Chief Medical Directors of teaching hospitals are
currently being arraigned before a court of law.
He said: "All I know is that before this commission came into being, corruption had become
endemic. It had eaten deep into the fabric of the country, but with what we are doing, I do not
believe that Nigerians are so foolhardy that they will not realise that it is no longer business as
At a recent conference in Vienna, Austria, Akanbi said that he met the Chairman of
Transparency International, which has consistently rated Nigeria as the second most corrupt
country in the world and demanded to know the parameters for the assessment.
The ICPC chief, who was speaking on the fourth anniversary of the anti-corruption commission,
disagreed with Transparency International's perception, as he wondered whether the agency
ever takes into account the political bias of the people who feed them with that notion.
However, he conceded that the rate of corruption was still high. "The level is high. It was very,
very high before we came in because Nigerians came to accept corruption as a way of life.
Now that we have arrested some people, that in itself has instilled fear into the hearts of
Speaking in Abuja yesterday at a seminar on "Advance Fee Fraud and Money Laundering in
Nigeria: An Overview," the chairman of the EFCC, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, said the fraudsters were
being facilitated by highly placed government officials.
Ribadu, who appraised the Nigerian business environment before and after last year's setting
up of the EFCC, also stated that the commission was investigating an Abuja-based civil servant
who allegedly own more than 200 houses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said the commission suspects the civil servant of money laundering activities and vowed to
confiscate the property if found liable.
Ribadu also revealed that EFCC's seizure of such illegally and fraudulently acquired properties
from 419ners and money launderers has amounted to over $500 million.
He said: "The first strategy of EFCC leadership was to insulate the EFCC from corruption.
Secondly, with the support of Mr. President, we believe that nobody is above the law. Our
message has been very clear on this."
Ribadu continued: "We have demonstrated our resolve and commitment by arresting many
previously, untouchable 419 kingpins.
"Presently, we have over 500 suspects in custody, seized asset and recovered property worth
over $500 million, with over 100 cases at various stages of prosecution.
"The commission believes that some of the 419 cases are facilitated by highly placed corrupt
He hinted that EFCC was in the process of building a national database on 419 and other
related offences for referral purposes as well as identifying and going after designated financial
and non-financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, stock-broking firms,
discount houses, finance houses, mortgage institutions telecommunications, postal services,
Independent Service Providers (ISPs) cybercafes and bureau de change that facilitate the
commission of 419 and other related fraudulent activities.
He added: "Financial and non-financial institutions must tighten their internal control systems to
safeguard their institutions/agencies from being used to cheat the public, otherwise they would
be held liable."
The EFCC chief said with the passing into law of the EFCC Act 2004, the commission would now
carry out speedy trial of cases before it.
He, however, expressed disappointment that while there were over 200 Nigerians serving jail
terms for 419 and other related offences all over the world, not even a single person is serving
term on the same offence in Nigeria.
This, Ribadu said, was in spite of the existence of the police, State Security Services (SSS), the
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other
Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the EFCC.
He called for more funding of the commission to enable it carry out its statutory functions, adding
that a similar body such as the EFCC in Japan gets at least three per cent of the country's yearly
budget while in Nigeria, both EFCC and ICPC share only 0.05 per cent of the budget.
Also speaking at the seminar organised by financial institutions regulatory agencies, the
Central Bank (CBN) Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, said the effect of fraud on the financial
sector remains very serious and continues to pose a challenge to the stability of the sector.
Soludo, who was represented at the seminar by his deputy in charge of financial surveillance,
Mr. Tunde Lemo, said fraud strikes at the very foundation of banking by eroding trust and
419 Coalition Note: Similar articles appeared in The Punch,
ThisDay, and other Nigerian publications.
29 JUN 2004
From The Australian newspaper, Sydney:
Nigeria arrests 500 suspected email scammers
ABUJA: Nigeria's agency against economic and financial crime said Monday that it had
detained more than 500 suspects and seized property worth more than $US500 million from
"Presently we have over 500 suspects in custody, seized assets and recovered properties
worth over $US500 million with over 100 cases at various stages of prosecution," agency
chairman Nuhu Ribadu told a seminar.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was set up by President Olusegun
Obasanjo to fight economic and financial crime, especially fraudsters who operate email and
mail scams known as 419 advance fee fraud -- named after the relevant section of the Nigerian
The EFCC had demonstrated its resolve and commitment by arresting many previously
"untouchable 419 kingpins", said Ribadu, a former senior police intelligence officer.
Although the identities of those in EFCC custody are not formally revealed, observers noted that
they included legislators, lawyers, politicians, bankers and public functionaries.
A legislator in the lower house of parliament, Maurice Ibekwe, arrested and charged with
alleged financial crime, died recently in prison custody.
Another suspect, lawyer Fred Ajudua, is currently in detention for an alleged financial crime
On June 3 in Maputo, Nigeria said that it planned to launch software that would help catch
fraudsters who send scam letters via email.
The new technology, which would identify key words used in such letters, is likely to be made
available to Internet service providers and government departments, Mustafa Bello, executive
secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, told a meeting on the sidelines of
Africa's World Economic Forum.
The email scams, often from "the widow of an African dictator" or a "bank offcial", promise
untold wealth in return for helping to transfer millions of dollars out of Africa. Many originate in
Victims of the scam have lost tens of thousands of dollars, and in some cases been attacked
They frequently fail to report their losses to the police out of shame and because they had been
planning to act illegally.
South African Interpol spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht told AFP last year that in South
Africa alone some 60 cases of advance fee fraud (or 419) were reported every day.
The message from the "widow" or the "official" will ask for a name, address, bank details,
passport and telephone numbers and a promise that in exchange, a major cut from the deal will
The cash never materialises and the scammer eventually disappears into thin air. In some
cases, victims are lured into a trap, kidnapped and held hostage for ransom.
Here is the URL for as long as it is good:
22 JUN 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Suspected fraud kingpin, Nnamene, murdered in South Africa
A 49-year-old former local council chairman from Enugu State, Mr. Ifeanyi Nnamene, has been
killed in his hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Nnamene (aka Omokachi), who was the chairman of Nkanu Local Council in the early 1990s,
began his sojourn in South Africa four years ago. He is reportedly into advance fee fraud (419)
in the country.
The Nigerian was killed at the weekend by an unidentified South African believed to have been
a victim of his alleged trade.
Nnamene was found dead with bullet wounds on his head inside his Roadlodge Hotel room on
Rivonia road, north of Johannesburg after he was allegedly shot by his suspected South
Police spokeswoman Amanda Roestoff told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that two
persons, including a 29-year-old woman, Maria Mamabolo, had been arrested in connection
with the incident.
The two suspects will appear in a Randburg Magistrate Court on Friday.
Nnamene reportedly left his Ghanaian wife and children behind in Nigeria.
The slain Nigerian and another accomplice, John Eze, 37, were lodged at the hotel by the
alleged victim to conclude an ongoing deal with the South African.
His killer had allegedly paid large sums to Nnamene's gang before he realised that he had
He then arranged to pay the balance at the hotel only to return to the hotel room with a pistol with
which he shot Nnamene in the head.
A woman who was with Nnamene when the white man arrived at the hotel was asked to excuse
the two for a while. She returned later to find Nnamene dead and raised an alarm.
Police investigating officer Captain Malueke, who suspected foul play in the murder, said the
deceased was found tied up and had several wounds on the back of his head.
He said a piece of cloth was found tied around his neck and it appeared he was strangled
before being shot.
Nnamene's accomplice, who was lodged in the same hotel, returned from a nightout into the
waiting hands of the police at the hotel.
The police are investigating the incident with the assistance of the hotel's close circuit television
to identify the killer.
Nnamene's body has been deposited at Hillbrow government mortuary in central
Johannesburg, pending a post-mortem.
The police have also approached the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg to assist in tracing
the family of the deceased.
21 JUN 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
EFCC Writes AG, Wants Speedy Trial of 419 Cases
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has in a letter to Attorney-General of the
Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujimi, demanded for speedy hearing of
Advanced Free Fraud (a.k.a 419) cases across the country.
The commission's decision was prompted by the complaint of trial judges in 419 matters that
the heavy burden of litigation has been a major impediment to quick and speedy hearing which
had caused unnecessary delay in the dispensation and administration of justice.
EFCC said there was immediate need to reduce and downsize the number of civil and criminal
matters before each trial judge in matters relating to Advanced Free Fraud so as to bring justice
to those defrauded by perpetrators of such terrible crimes.
According to the commission, unnecessary delay, long adjournment and frivolous applications
of counsel to accused persons have frustrated the effort the commission has been making at
prosecuting alleged fraudsters in the country.
"The concerted effort of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the crimes
commission and all stakeholders is required to ensure successful fight against those who have
been giving bad image to this country through their fraudulent and criminal acts.
"The commission has made it a duty to deal with fraudsters whose dirty intention has indeed
soiled the image of Nigeria in the international community without favour or fear so as to give the
country a new perspective to the foreign investors", EFCC wrote in the letter.
The commission therefore urged Olujimi to quickly take decision that would give primacy to
immediate and speedy hearing of Advanced Free Fraud matters in order to assure
international community of Nigeria's commitment to fighting financial crimes.
419 Coalition Comment: Indeed, EFCC has convicted no-one of 419
to date despite its best efforts. As far as we know, the total number
of convictions for 419 in the whole 20 years or so of the scams remain
at 22, the most recent number given by the Nigerian Government. In
terms of repatriations of stolen funds, this remains virtually nil;
for example, victim Shahla Ghasemi still cannot get Central Bank of
Nigeria to return her money that CBB publicy announced several
years ago that it had recovered.
18 JUN 2004
From the DAILY POST (ROTORUA) in New Zealand:
Scam victims ordered to repay bank $800,000
Two Rotorua residents have been ordered to pay the ASB Bank more than $800,000 after
falling victim to Nigerian scams.
Landlord Lambertus Petrus Maria Geurts and naturopath Aidan Pargeter of Rotorua, along with
Sandra Catherine Foley of Hamilton, have been ordered to pay back the money after cashing a
counterfeit cheque with the sharebroking arm of the bank. The decision was released late last
Documents from the Auckland High Court reveal that both Geurts and Foley fell for separate but
similar scams around the same time.
Foley was originally approached in June 1999 by a person calling himself Choice Voteman and
offered a quarter share of U$S15.5 million (NZ$24.8 million) worth of managed funds.
According to the documents, both she and Pargeter spent a "considerable sum of money"
pursuing the deal.
Geurts was drawn into a similar scam, which required him to pay for a specialist "cleaning
machine" and chemicals needed to wipe "security film" from money that was being held in a
secured bank deposit.
As part of the deal, he received what he believed was a US Treasury cheque for US$455,600.
Geurts initially tried to bank the cheque through a Vanuatu account, but was unsuccessful.
A financial adviser put him in touch with Foley and Pargeter and together the trio approached
ASB Securities in May 2002.
The bank paid out on the cheque, which later turned out to be counterfeit.
In the Auckland High Court, Justice Geoffrey Venning has ruled the trio are obliged to repay the
money, partly because they lied about the nature of their business relationship.
The judge criticised Geurts for not realising the cheque was suspicious, especially as the
instructions accompanying it encouraged him to tell ASB an "outright lie".
He also criticised Foley and Pargeter for not telling ASB Geurts had already had problems
banking the cheque.
Foley admitted in court that when she saw the cheque she was "very dubious" and said:
"There's a little saying: if it's too good to be true it usually is".
Pargeter told the court he was aware of Nigerian bank scams, but "didn't give it any thought"
after travelling to the Netherlands to pursue the deal.
The judge has ordered the trio to pay nearly $100,000 interest on the original sum, as well as
court costs to ASB.
Contacted yesterday, Pargeter said he did not want to comment for fear of prejudicing a
planned appeal. However, he said the judge's ruling "blew the socks off me."
Geurts could not be reached for comment and ASB Securities managing director Tim Preston
declined to comment.
According to court documents, ASB has since changed its procedures. It now insists on holding
such cheques for 21 working days, instead of 15 -- even though it took 26 working days for the
counterfeit cheque to be dishonoured.
Consumers' Institute chief executive David Russell said the Rotorua case was the third Nigerian
scam he had heard of in the past two weeks. He said his advice was simple.
"Never ever, ever, ever, ever take any notice of something that promises you world wealth for
nothing. It is simple common sense. It just does not happen."
11 JUN 2004
From the Nigeriaworld website:
Nigerian, D Nnamdi Ikoro, arrested in money transfer racket in Bangalore, India
By Lorna Thackeray
The city police have arrested a Nigerian in connection with a money transfer racket yesterday.
According to the police the accused, identified as D Nnamdi Ikoro, and several others had
cheated one Abdul Rehan, owner of an internet parlour in Viveknagar.
According to the police the victim received a mail wherein he was offered a 30 percent cut in a
20 million dollars deal. Unaware of what he was getting into the victim fell prey to the game and
paid Rs 2.5 lakh to the accused in this regard.
However when things started to fall in place, Rehman realised that the addresses given to him
were fake and he lodged a complaint with the police against the Nigerian national.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
10 JUN 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
$242m Scam: Court Summons EFCC Boss
From Lillian Okenwa in Abuja
Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was on
Tuesday summoned to appear before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),
Abuja over a court order barring publications in the $242 million Scam suit.
The order made by the Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Lawal Gumi is coming after an earlier
order barring all parties in the suit from publishing commercial articles on the suit.
Some of the suspects, Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Mrs. Martina Anajemba and others were
alleged to be involved in the scam.
Counsel to Anajemba, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, had asked the Court to summon Ribadu in view
of what he tagged "an alleged contempt of a pending Court order."
He had asked Justice Gumi to make an order inviting the EFCC boss to appear before him and
give reasons why his commission continued to make publications on the subject matter which is
yet to be determined in the Court in the newspapers.
Granting the request, Gumi said: "That the Chairman of the EFCC or any member of the said
Commission who has knowledge about such publications should appear before this Court on
the 22nd of June 2004 to explain the meaning and intent of such publication and order."
"That the earlier order made by this Court during proceedings between the parties in this suit
prohibiting such continual publications is hereby strengthened.'
8 JUN 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
Falana Withdraws from 419 Suspects' Trial
By Abimbola Akosile
Following a move by three accused persons in an advance fee fraud (a.k.a 419) case before a
Lagos High Court, Ikeja Judicial Division, to effect a change of counsel in their ongoing trial, Mr.
Femi Falana, whose chambers previously handled them, has withdrawn from further
appearance in the matter.
However, the case has been adjourned till June 16 for further hearing. The trio, Edwin Obi,
Kenneth Metu, and Kingsley Dike were earlier arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) before Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, for conspiracy and fraud related
offences, and allegedly obtaining money by false pretences, contrary to Section 8 (a) and 13 of
the Advance Fee Fraud Act No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.
They were alleged to have conspired sometime in July, 2003, in Lagos, conspired to obtain
from one Joseph Ani (complainant) the sum of seventeen million naira by false pretences, by
representing to him that they were capable of producing United States dollars from a piece of
paper by washing it with a chemical substance.
However, the suspects had urged the court to strike out the EFCC charge, which they described
as incompetent and constituting abuse of judicial process.
4 JUN 2004
From Nigeriaworld, a Nigeria oriented website, which
attributed it to "AFP":
Nigeria to launch software to nab 419 scammers
Nigeria plans to launch software that would help catch people who send scam letters via e-mail,
known as the 419 advance fee fraud, a meeting on the sidelines of Africa's World Economic
Forum has heard.
The software is expected to identify keywords used in e-mails and is likely to be made
available to internet service providers and government departments, said Mustafa Bello,
executive secretary of the Nigerian investment promotion commission.
"The introduction of new software, currently under discussion within the Nigerian parliament, will
scan e-mails originating in Nigeria to look for keywords commonly found, especially relating to
banking. This will then be removed from the system and even traced back to where it
originated, [to] allow police to arrest the culprit," he said.
The e-mail scams, often from "the widow of an African dictator" or a "bank official", promise
untold wealth in return for helping to transfer millions of dollars out of Africa. Many originate in
Victims of the scam have lost tens of thousands of dollars, and in some cases been attacked
and robbed. They frequently fail to report their losses to the police out of shame and because
they have been planning to act illegally.
South African Interpol spokesperson Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said last year that in South
Africa about 60 cases of advance fee fraud were reported every day.
The message from the "widow" or the "official" will ask for a name, address, bank details,
passport and telephone numbers and usually promise a major cut from the deal.
The 419 scam -- named after the section in Nigeria's criminal code on fraud -- works on a
simple principle: the victim is kept on the hook for as long as possible, paying money, with the
carrot of a huge return at the end.
The cash never materialises and the scammer eventually disappears into thin air. In some
cases, victims are lured into a trap, kidnapped and held hostage for ransom.
Bello said however that Nigeria was also trying to address the underlying cause of the advance
fee fraud which was "not greed but poverty," Bello said.
419 Coalition Comment: Well, who knows, prehaps Nigerian authorities
will be better at tracking down the owners of email addresses than they
are at tracking down the owners of the must be over 100,000 by now
Nigerian phone numbers that have been used for 419 over the years.
We here at 419 Coalition have sent in several thousand Nigerian 419
phone numbers ourselves over the years and nothing much happened.
Ah well, we shall hope for the best....
3 JUN 2004
From the Daily Independent Online, a Nigerian
One year after: Is Ribadu winning the war against 419?
Victor Efeizomor, Law Reporter, writes that one year after the inauguration of Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the commission has not been able to successfully
prosecute any of the suspects over alleged involvement in financial crimes.
He sat in his large office contemplating the next line of action to adopt. Like an army general
caught in a battle, he has deployed all the weapons in the armory. He cannot afford to lose the
Ordinarily, were the battle a physical combat, his opponents would easily crush him because of
his small size. Nuhu Ribadu, a lawyer by training and a police officer by profession was abroad
when he was summoned back to the country, to take over the headship of the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He wasted no time in delving into his assignment as he
vowed to make life unbearable for fraudsters who perpetrate financial scams. His words:
"Suffice it to state that these crimes have done tremendous damage to our national integrity and
national image abroad. Advance fee fraud that we sometimes refer to as 419, has caused our
dear country and innocent citizens a lot of embarrassment abroad. Just because of the
unpatriotic acts and greed of a few misguided citizens, the country suffers while undertaking
Having read the riot act as it were, Ribadu must have impressed it on 419 fraudsters in the
country that the battle line had been drawn. As a result, some of them scampered for cover
while others who could not simply bear to hear the name EFCC or Ribadu bolted away from the
country. Then came the mass arrests, detention and subsequent charge to court of some big
names in the society for their alleged involvement in advance fee fraud.
But more than one year after the fight started, EFCC has not been able to secure conviction for
any of the alleged 419 kingpins. The commission is charged with the enforcement and
administration of the provisions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(Establishment Act 2002), investigation of all financial crimes, including advance fee fraud,
money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal cash transfers, futures market fraud, fraudulent
encasement, credit card fraud, and contract scam, among other such crimes.
The commission is also charged with the responsibility to ensure the co-ordination and
enforcement of all economic and financial crimes laws, and enforcement of sanctions conferred
on any other person or authority; enforcement of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act
1995; the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Relation Offences Act 1996; the Failed Bank
(Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act 1994 (as amended); the
Miscellaneous Offences Act and any other law or regulation relating to economic and financial
Indeed interested members of the public are becoming impatient with Ribadu, that apart from
hauling more than 300 suspects behind bars, and confiscating their properties worth more than
$200 million, the commission appears to have lost steam. Rather than get conviction for any of
the detainees, EFCC has only succeeded in having one of them die in custody. Maurice
Ibekwe, re-elected member of the House of Representatives died in detention, March 20, 2004
owing to a protracted illness, after EFCC's consistent opposition of his bail application on health
Significantly, defence teams in the cases being prosecuted by EFCC accuse the commission
of conspiring with the government and the judiciary to secure only conviction for the suspects,
rather than prosecute the cases. However, EFCC counter by accusing defence lawyers of
exploiting loopholes in the laws to stall proceedings in the matters. As a result, Ribadu has
gone to the National Assembly with a bill that will ensure speedy trial in court. The bill when
passed into law, according to Ribadu, will allow the courts to go on with trials uninterrupted,
even when the rulings of a trial court are being challenged at the appellate level. He said the
country's justice administration system, which enables suspects to stall trials thereby preventing
cases from progressing at a desired speed has been the major setback for EFCC in
prosecuting its cases.
Really, when some of the prominent suspects, like Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Chief Emmanuel
Nwude, Chief Fred Ajudua, the late Maurice Ibekwe, and Ade-Bendel, were arraigned in court
for allegedly defrauding their victims of over $5 million US dollars between 1999 and 2001, they
pleaded not guilty. Subsequently, they challenged the different rulings against them at the
appellate court, seeking stay of proceedings at the lower courts pending the decisions of the
Ajudua for instance had even gone further to accuse the presiding judge in his own case,
Justice Joseph Oyewale of likelihood of bias in an application brought by his (Ajudua's)
counsel, Olalekan Ojo. Ibekwe on the other hand, before his death, had told the court through
his lawyer, Professor Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, that he was too ill to stand trial, while Chief Alumile
Adedeji (aka Ade-Bendel) through Olalekan Ojo also, went to the Court of Appeal to challenge
the decision of the trial court. Ibekwe's co-accused, a Lagos hotelier, Mr. Augumous Okoro's
has had his counsel withdrawn from his trial in Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun's court at Ikeja when
the court ruled against them that the trial should progress, to enable the prosecution witness to
complete his examination-in-chief.
The accused persons, with others still at large, were alleged to have committed the crime of
advance fee fraud punishable under the Fraud Related Offences Decree 13, 1999. EFCC
specified that the accused persons conspired with others, who are still being sought, to obtain
by false pretence over 5 million US dollars.
At the hearing of the case against the late Ibekwe and Ade-Bendel, before Justice Kekere-
Ekun, the star witness, a retired Egyptian Army General, Abdel-Azim told the court how he
lodged US $4,000 in First Bank and another US $5,000 directly to the company allegedly owned
by Ade-Bendel and his alleged co-fraudsters. The matter has since been stalled at the court.
Another victim of 419, 47-year-old German woman, Frieda Springer Beck who is a witness in
Ajudua's case alleged that she was duped of US $360,000 in 1993. Ajudua is also standing
another trial before an Ikeja High Court, alongside Charles Orie for allegedly obtaining the sum
of US $1,698,338 from Remmy Hendrick Luigi Lima of Germany, under false pretence in breach
of the provision of the Advance Fee Fraud Decree. Ajudua who had succeeded in stalling the
trial since the matter started surprised everyone when a fortnight ago, he told the court that he
was ready to face trial.
Nwude and Ikechukwu Christian Anajemba (Amaka's spouse) are alleged to be the
mastermind behind $420 million 419 scam that brought down a Brazilian bank. Mr. Anajemba is
now dead and Amaka, his widow also accused of involvement in the scam is in detention as
she stands trial.
The worry among judiciary analysts really is EFCC's inability to pursue any of its cases to a
logical conclusion one year after, with the calibre of lawyers like Oluwemimo Ogunde, a product
of Chief Gani Fawehinmi's chambers, and a radical lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, it parades.
Already, Ribadu has had to contend with bad publicity on the method he employed to
apprehend Mrs. Anajemba. His critics said it is "crude," and reminiscent of the dark days of
despotic military rulers. He has also been accused of indulging in human rights breaches in
discharging his assignment.
Notwithstanding, his resolve is still very significant: "Any body that transgresses the laws will be
punished according to the laws. These criminals, as we all know, are not spirits. They live
among us and many people are aware of their nefarious activities. We promise to handle all
information given to us in strict confidence, as we will religiously protect our sources of
Beside the allegations of alleged human rights breaches in the way it goes about its
assignment, observers of the activities of the commission believe that the change in its
leadership, which saw Ribadu's emergence may not help the commission in the long run.
Security experts query why a Commissioner of Police should be removed as chairman of the
commission and replaced with an Assistant Commissioner of Police. "The replacement of Mr.
Akaya, a CP, with Ribadu, an ACP, would not work out well for the commission," one security
expert noted. He clarified: "By the Act establishing the commission, all the services are
supposed to be represented, no higher officer of any of the services would want to come on
board. We must realise that in Nigeria, status matters."
2 JUN 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
$242m Scam: Suspect Denies Bribery Allegation
From Lillian Okenwa in Abuja
One of the suspects alleged to have duped a Brazilian businessman of about $242 million
yesterday told a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, that she did not bribe the
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, or any
official of the Commission as alleged.
The suspect, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, who spoke through her counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN)
told the Court that on the contrary what she did was meet the provisions of the EFCC Act, which
states that restitution, must be made on every financial crime committed.
The suspect again re-iterated that it was her late husband and not her that was involved in the
She said when she was apprehended by the Commission, she was told that if she made some
refunds in accordance to the provisions of the Act setting up EFCC, she would be released, but
she was shocked that after paying the money she was accused of bribing Ribadu.
Anajemba also said if indeed the said money was termed bribe, there must have been a
receiver, in which case Ribadu should be in the docks for collecting bribe.
Last week, the suspect filed an application at a Federal High Court, Abuja, asking it to set aside
an order it made on May 26, granting the forfeiture of her assets.
In a motion on notice, the suspect asked for an order setting aside or discharging the interim
order of forfeiture of assets it made and obtained ex-parte by the chairman of EFCC in spite of
the substantive trial between the parties pending before the High Court of the Federal Capital
1 JUN 2004
From WINS News Radio, NY:
Authorities Investigating Alleged Email Scam
(1010 WINS) (HARTFORD) A scam targeting people who sell items on the Internet has been
reported in Connecticut, authorities said.
Federal and state officials say phony buyers tell sellers they are willing to pay generous prices
for items. They send a fraudulent cashier's check, and ask that the excess money be wired
back to them.
The phony buyers contact sellers by e-mail, and sometimes by phone, said Joe Dooley, a
supervisory special agent in the FBI's New Haven office who heads the office's cybercrimes
"They say they have a cashier's check from a prior transaction that's $2,000 to $3,000 more than
the goods being sold by the seller," he said.
About two cases per month have been reported in Connecticut, Dooley said. In Farmington, two
cases were reported in a week, but both sellers contacted police when they suspected it was a
scam, authorities said.
The scams have involved sellers offering anything from cars to wedding dresses to horses on
online auction sites and classified advertising sites. The phony buyers typically ask for money
to be wired to a Western Union office outside the country, and it is later transferred to Lagos,
If sellers fall for the scam, it is tough to help them, Dooley said. Information about the scam is
sent to the legal attache in the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria.
"It's a case of seller beware," he said.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office has been getting two to three complaints a
week, but there isn't much the office can do.
"By and large money lost to this scheme is almost impossible to recover because it's sent
overseas," he said. "Anyone who sends money by Western Union to this kind of scam buyer is
kissing it goodbye."
Blumenthal said consumers should be wary of buyers who send e-mails from overseas, who
pay more than the agreed price and ask for a refund. He said when depositing cashier's
checks, be certain they have cleared.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
27 MAY 2004
From The Punch, a Nigerian newspaper, sent
in by a Concerned Nigerian:
$242m scam: EFCC to freeze 419 suspects' assets
Tobi Soniyi, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday obtained an
order from the Federal High Court, Abuja freezing the banks’ accounts of
Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Amaka Anajemba and Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, three
suspects charged with defrauding a Brazilian bank to the tune of $242
Chief Chris Uche (SAN), counsel to Anajemba, told the Chief Judge of the
Abuja High Court, Justice Lawal Gumi, that his client informed him that
the commission has obtained an ex-parte order freezing their accounts.
Uche also told the court that his client’s property had also been
He told the judge that the action of the EFCC amounted to overreaching
Justice Gumi asked EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, to confirm whether
it was true that the suspects’ accounts had been frozen.
Jacobs, however, claimed ignorance of the order.
Justice Gumi was upset and threatened to take the matter up if it turned
out to be true.
Investigations showed that some of the suspects were making clandestine
moves to dispose of their property because they knew they might forfeit
the property to the state if they were found guilty.
This was said to have informed the action by the EFCC.
An EFCC’s source told our correspondent that Nwude’s alleged property at
60 Marina had been sold.
Meanwhile, EFCC yesterday filed a fresh affidavit listing all the
property allegedly acquired by the suspects with the proceeds of the
fraud. The investigating police officer, Sanda Umar, swore to the
That between the period of 1995-2000, Chief Emmanuel Nwude acquired a
lot of properties with the proceeds of the fraud and these include
Russel Centre, Wuse FCT.
That Amaka Anajemba between the period of 1995-2000 acquired a lot of
properties with the proceeds of the fraud in Abuja and these include:
Plot 1475, Asokoro, Abuja FCT, Plot 1555, Asokoro, Abuja, FCT and Plot
1470, Asokoro, Abuja FCT.
The commission also attached a schedule of assets sought to be
For Emmnauel Nwude the commission listed the following properties for
36 Ikoyi Crescent Ikoyi Lagos; 60 Marina, Lagos; 34 Bourdilion Road,
Ikoyi, Lagos; 43 Afribank Road, Victoria, Lagos; 80 Allen Avenue, Ikeja,
Lagos; and 3/5 Abagana Close, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos,
Others are 37/39 Awka Road, Onitsha, Anambra State; Russel Centre, Wuse,
Abuja FCT.; 60 Chime Avenue, Enugu, Enugu State; 2 Trans-Ekulu Avenue,
Enugu, Enugu State; Petrol Station at Oye Agu, Abagana, Anambra State;
and F22 Sani Abacha Road, GRA Phase 111 Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Vehicles sought to be forfeited allegedly owned by Nwude are, BMW,
registration number GA823 AAA; Honda Acura registration number DE712KJA;
Mercedes Benz, registration number DJI 70AAA; Porsche, registration
number CP524AAA; Jaguar, registration number CA340KJA; BMW, registration
number CH238 SMK; and Mercedes Benz registration number, CE511LND.
He is said to have 65,119 ordinary shares in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
The shares were registered in different names.
AMAKA ANAJEMBA’s real properties sought to be forfeited are
1. 9A & B Akutu Crescent, Independence Layout, Enugu, Enugu State.
2. 23 Osumeyi Street, Awkuanaw, Enugu, Enugu State.
3. 9 Bassey Duke Street, New Haven, Enugu, Enugu State.
4. Ezinifite Street, New Haven, Enugu, Enugu State.
5. 5 Igbokwe Close, G.R.A Enugu, Enugu State.
6. 15 Nnobi Street, Independence Layout, Enugu, Enugu State.
7. Plot 496 Ezillo Avenue, Independence Layout, Enugu, Enugu State.
8. 9 Okoroji Street, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
9. Plot 1475, Asokoro,
10. Plot 1555, Asokoro, Abuja, FCT.
11. 4/6 Umuona Street, G.R.A., Enugu, Enugu State.
12. 13/15 Iheaka Street, Ekulu West, G.A.R., Enugu, Enugu State.
13. 157A & B Chime, Enugu, Enugu State.
14. 28 Roda One, Upper North 5th Trans-Ekulu, Enugu, Enugu State.
15. Plot 1470, Asokoro, Abuja FCT.
16. 70 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos State.
17. 2 Fosberry Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State.
18. 1 Cooper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State.
Her vehicles include the following:
1. Jaguar, registration no. CE 9021 ND
2. Rolls Royce, registration no. AR 788 LSR
3. Peugeot, registration no. AP 596 BWR
4. Toyota Bus (now at a Police Station in Enugu)
Nzeribe Okoli’s properties listed for forfeiture are 25, Amodu Street,
Independent Layout, Enugu and Ocean Oil Petroleum station, Oil Avenue,
Akunanam, Enugu State. The accused are standing trial before the Chief
Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Lawal Gummi over
82-count charge of defrauding Nelson Sakaguchin, one of the directors of
Banco Norusto Bank based in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Anajemba’s lawyer objected to the new affidavit and asked the court to
discountenance it on the ground that it was too late to file a new
But Jacobs in his reply said that the court has the discretion to accept
the affidavit as the justice of the case demanded.
Justice Gumi would rule on Tuesday June 1 on whether he would admit the
new affidavit evidence.
21 MAY 2004
Six arrested over 'Nigerian email' frauds
South African police have made a breakthrough against organised criminals who spam Internet
users in an attempt to defraud them of thousands of pounds
Six people were arrested in South Africa last weekend on suspicion of being involved in the
infamous Nigerian email and letter fraud.
Four of those detained were Nigerian, one was Cameroonian, and the sixth was South African.
South African police believe that the six people are part of an international fraud and drug-
dealing cartel, and have been sending out many thousands of email and letters in an attempt to
Police seized a large amount of drugs, as well as computer equipment and false identification
papers. According to a statement from the South Africa police, officers from the UK's Scotland
Yard are involved in the operation. A Metropolitan police spokesman was unable to confirm
The arrests could mark an important breakthrough in the battle against the international scam,
which is thought to have defrauded hundreds of millions of pounds from victims. The fraud is
also known as the "West African advanced fee fraud" or the "419 fraud" -- 419 being the relevant
section of the Nigerian criminal code.
"The success [of the operation] is no doubt a huge blow to the 4-1-9 industry and evidential of
the fact that law enforcement agencies around the globe are determined to deal harshly with the
operators of this fraud scam," said the South African police in a statement issued on Sunday 19
Potential victims receive a letter -- or more recently an email -- telling them that the sender is
trying to move a very large sum of money and offering them a substantial percentage of the
cash in return for letting it be deposited into their bank account.
Often the fraudsters claim that the Nigerian government is paying out this money in return for a
completed contract, while other versions claim to involve insurance payouts after aeroplane
Anyone who expresses an interest is then told that they must first hand over some money to
cover expenses such as banking fees and administrative costs. These "advanced fees" often
run to thousands of pounds, and there are cases where American victims have lost hundreds of
thousands of dollars.
The Nigerian government has set up a unit in London to fight the fraud, but many people are still
being taken in.
One problem is that many victims don't report that they have been defrauded, either through
embarrassment or because they aren't sure who to contact.
Roland Perry, vice chairman of the Internet Crime Forum, said last month that it simply isn't clear
which law enforcement body people should contact with cybercrime complaints.
"Where do you go if you get a Nigerian email?" asked Perry. "Do you report it to the National
Criminal Intelligence Service, the Metropolitan Police, the Fraud Squad, the National High-Tech
Crime Unit or your local police? If you take one of these emails to your local police, what is the
chap behind the desk supposed to do with it?"
The Metropolitan Police, in conjunction with the Specialist Crime Operational Command Unit,
has set up a Web page containing advice about the West African advanced fee fraud.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
12 MAY 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Accused wants biggest fraud suit dismissed on technical grounds
From Emmanuel Onwubiko, Abuja
THE lawyer defending one of the accused in what has been described as the world's biggest
fraud case, yesterday asked the Abuja High Court to dismiss the suit against his client on
One of the grounds was the reference to Nigeria in the charge sheet by the prosecution as the
"Federal Government of Nigeria," instead of the "Federal Republic of Nigeria."
Three Nigerians, among whom the second accused, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, allegedly
defrauded a Brazilian bank of N36.3 billion.
At yesterday's hearing, however, counsel to Mrs. Anajemba, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), asked the
court to dismiss the suit because the wrong description of Nigeria in the charge sheet as the
Federal Government of Nigeria contravened Section 13(1) of the Economic and Financial
Crime Commission (EFCC).
He argued: "The charges have not been brought in the proper names of the complainant;
Federal Republic of Nigeria was not properly cited by the prosecution but what they used is
Federal Government of Nigeria. This is against Section 13 (1) of EFCC Act.
"There is a difference between "Federal Republic" and "Federal Government," because
Republic symbolises the entity or polity, whereas "Federal Government" is the administrative
arm, including the three arms of government," he added.
Not done yet, he continued: "If the complainant says the Federal Government is the name of the
complainant, then it means that the judiciary being part of the Federal Government is also a
party in this matter".
Citing Bashir Dalhatu versus Ibrahim Turaki, 2003, 15 N.W.L.R, part 843, page 310 at page 339;
the Federal Government versus Oshiomhole, 2004, 3 N.W.L.R., part 816 at page 305; and the
Criminal Procedure Act, Cap 80, Laws of the Federation 1990, Chief Uche further submitted that
the Abuja High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit since all the alleged crimes
were committed outside the Federal Capital Territory.
Uche averred that the arraignment of the second accused person was a violation of Section 65
and 66 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and asked the court to quash the charges also on
"Our application is asking for the charges to be quashed since the proof of evidence did not
establish prima facie case against the second accused person," Uche said.
Citing Nkem Madukolo versus Nkemdilim, 1962, (2) Supreme Court of Nigeria Law Report, at
page 341; Governor of Anambra versus Ana, 1995, 8 N.W.L.R., part 412, page 213 at page 220,
Uche prayed the court to decline jurisdiction.
Uche further urged the court to dismiss the suit because the exercise was an abuse of the court
process, since a similar matter was already pending at a Lagos High Court, and was billed for
hearing on June 30.
To buttress his point, he cited Amaefula versus The State 1988, 2 N.W.L.R., part 75 at 56 as his
When he ended his submissions, the trial judge, Justice Lawal Gumi, called Mr. Rotimi Jacob,
representing the Federal Government, to reply.
But he rather asked for a short adjournment because he was indisposed and so could not go
on with the matter.
"My lord, I will be asking for a date because my voice has virtually gone because I have over-
stretched myself while preparing briefs in three pending appeals in this matter coming up
tomorrow (today) at the Appeal Court, Abuja Division," he told the court.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to May 19, for further hearing.
Other accused persons in the matter are Chief Emmanuel Nwude, said to be on admission at
the National Hospital, Abuja, and was not present in court yesterday; and Chief Nzeribe Okoli.
419 Coalition Comment: What a pile of crapola..... and note the man
has three more "appeals" yet to go....
10 MAY 2004
From the Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper:
419 goes global
Warning signs have been displayed prominently in Bank lobbies in such far away places as
Hong Kong, Singapore, United States, Canada, Switzerland, England and South Africa, alerting
people to the danger of being duped.
Huge posters have been seen at airports, finance houses and government offices and other
public places, warning people not to fall victims to the hoax.
Horror stories have been reported in magazines and newspapers, and carried in broadcast
news and on the internet drawing attention to the scam.
The Lord knows that the Nigerian Government, whatever else it has not been able to do, has
made quixotic efforts to publicize and fight the crime.
So how, and why do some people continue to fall victims to the advance fee fraud crime, known
more widely as 419?
Not only has 419 not waned or abated, it has continued to expand and grow and now it has
With all the publicity surrounding the hoax in the past decade or so, you would imagine that
anyone who lives on this planet and who has an intelligence quotient higher than that of a
mosquito would have heard of 419 and would stay away from it, as if it was a plague. But no,
people continue to believe that they can get rich quickly by responding to a message from
someone they never met, in a place of which they never heard.
There are many, many stories of people who continue to open their bank accounts and send
money to complete strangers in the insane hope of reaping millions of dollars in exchange.
Several of these gullible and greedy people have lost their entire life savings and in a few
tragic cases, even their lives in this foolish gamble.
If people didn’t fall for the hoax, and if the perpetrators didn’t reap any returns from their
activities, 419 would long ago have whittled and died; instead, it has flourished, now becoming
an internationalized growth industry. The criminals cast their nets far and wide and people, who
are fishy in their own ways, catch the bait.
Only very few people and offices with fax machines or e-mail addresses have not received
these 419 messages. It began in Nigeria with a simple scenario: the person has come into a
huge amount of money millions of dollars from a government ministry, the presidency or
parastatal, such as NNPC; he needs your collaboration in order to transfer the money out of the
country. For that, you will be richly rewarded with a fat percentage which obviously will also run
into millions. But he will need your bank account number and code, and you might have to put
up some money up front for administrative and other expenses.
The Nigerian Government promulgated Decree 419 to fight the crime, which is why 419 has
acquired global recognition as the title of this expanding scam.
The criminals are now aware that if their message originates from Nigeria, or they mention that
their fortune is from the Nigerian Government or parastatal, the Nigerian Senate or House of
Assembly, or a deceased corrupt dictator (the name of Sani Abacha was used a lot) that would
raise warning signals. So now they use the names of deceased or deposed corrupt dictators
from other parts of the world.
Moreover, criminals from other parts of the world, perhaps observing how rewarding 419 can
be, given its comparatively low investment just fax and e-mail messages and fairly low risk of
apprehension, since the victims often are too embarrassed or too dead to complain, have
adopted this criminal modus operandi.
For example, shortly after Laurent Kabila died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaire), I
received a message from someone claiming to be his former personal assistant. He said
Kabila left millions of dollars in a secret account known only to Kabila and himself (my
correspondent). Not even Kabila’s wife, or his son, Joseph Desire, who succeeded his father as
DRC President, was in the know. With my help, he would like to transfer the money to a safe
haven where we would share it. I ignored the offer, which may probably explain why I am today
neither fabulously wealthy nor in jail or dead.
A newspaper here reports receiving a letter from someone claiming to be Dr. Mrs. Luisa
Estrada, the wife of Joseph Estrada, the deposed President of the Philippines. She said that
before her husband was impeached, she secretly transferred 18 million US dollars out of the
Philippines. She offered them 25 per cent of the money, about 4.5 million dollars if they would
help launder the money.
Another one said he was Jan Doo-hwan, brother of the former President of South Korea, who left
office in disgrace amid corruption charges in 1988. He said he had 30 million US dollars, and
requested collaboration in its transfer.
It will probably not be too long before people start receiving messages from the purported
relatives or special assistants of Charles Taylor or Jean Bertrand Aristides deposed
Presidents respectively of Liberian and Haiti, making fantastic offers to anyone who would help
to lauder their loot.
One can only hope that 419 will not be the only numbers for which Nigeria is most notable in
419 Coalition: It must be added that 419 solicitations ostensibly from
Charles Taylor have been around for some time now. Haven't seen
any ostensibly from Aristide yet, but agree that it is only a matter of
time, the 419ers ar very keen on on current events. It must also be
said that despite occasional local copycats etc. 419 remains
primarily a NIgerian thing no matter the tale in the soliciation or
the ostensible or actual origination of the solicitation ...why that is
no-one knows for sure, but it is. Finally, it is important to remember
that there are many types of 419, not just the "Classic 419" version
to which the above piece refers, and in many of them such as
Cashier's Check 419, there are no questions concerning the
ethics of the victim.
9 APR 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
$254m Scam: Assassins Go After Crown Witness
By Godwin Ifijeh
Chief prosecution witness in the $254 million advance fee fraud, involving five Nigerians,
namely Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Chief Emmanuel Ofulue, Mr. Obum
Osakwe and Chief Nzeribe Edeh Okoli, yesterday raised alarm, alleging that hired killers were
after his life.
Dr. Obev Uke, who said he was the lead prosecution witness, having reported the financial
crime against a Brazilian businessman to the police, stated on phone last night that he was in
hiding, after he narrowly escaped being killed by gunmen, who stormed his Enugu home last
"I was not home last Monday morning when six men came in a bus to my house in Enugu. They
met my security guard and told him that they were there to repair my vehicle.
"Immediately he opened for them to go in, they pulled out guns and combed the whole house,
looking for me.
"As God would have it, I was not around, They came back in the afternoon, searched every
corner of the house again for me before they left. I have to run into hiding since then when I learnt
of how they desperately wanted to get at me.
"I reported the $254 million scam to the police. I am the prosecution witness. Anajemba et al
want to bump me off before the trial starts.
Asked if he has informed the police of the situation, the prosecution witness said he had only
been able to reach his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, and the Lagos Director of Operations of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamordi, on the
He appealed for urgent steps on the situation, saying he was sure that delay would be
dangerous, considering the way the hired killers desperately looked for him.
Contacted last night, Femi Falana confirmed the development, saying Uke told him about it from
his hide out.
Falana, who said he had just returned from a trip outside Lagos, confirmed that Uke told him that
he had alerted the EFCC about it, and that he would be making a formal report to the police.
2 APR 2004
From BBC News, UK:
Nigerian jailed for e-mail scam
A Nigerian has been jailed for his part in a huge international e-mail
Peter Okoeguale, 33, was jailed for 20 months for his part in the e-mail
fraud, also known as the Nigerian 419 scam.
Caernarfon Crown Court heard victims are promised a share of cash if
they help with the movement of millions of dollars out of Africa.
But they are then duped into handing over cash themselves to overcome an
The prosecution said when Okoeguale was arrested he had floppy disks
which could scan websites for e-mail addresses and for sending "spam"
He pleaded guilty to going equipped to cheat and is the first person to
be prosecuted in north Wales for advance fee fraud.
Okoeguale was arrested as he was about to board a ferry from Holyhead to
the Irish Republic, where he has a wife and son.
The prosecution said he had fake documents, one of which was headed
'Nigerian Police Force Contract Investigation Section' and urged the
recipient to forward the details of any contact by corrupt government
Okoeguale claimed he had been delivering the items to someone else.
Judge John Rogers QC recommended his deportation at the end of the
He told him: "You had in your possession a substantial amount of
equipment and carefully drafted fraudulent documents with the intention
that they should be used to fool gullible people not only in this
country but wherever you chose to communicate with them.
"This is international fraud. Only a period of imprisonment is
"In addition I'm quite satisfied that given the gravity of this offence
it's detrimental to the welfare of the UK that you should remain here."
North Wales Police said that discs found on Okoeguale contained
thousands of e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of companies and
individuals from Scotland, the USA, the Middle East, and the Far East.
Using the documents officers traced 11 victims, including one in
Scotland who lost up to £20,000, and a retired 72-year-old American
businessman who lost $46,500.
Detective Constable Dave Morris, from the North Wales Police fraud
squad, said: "The internet has made it much easier for individuals to
"The ease with which e-mail addresses can be obtained and used for
illegal purposes has increased the chances of innocent people being
subjected to this offence."
He added: "We would urge the public to delete any communications,
whether it be e-mail or fax, they may receive purporting to come from
Nigerian Government Ministers or other organisations offering large sums
Here is the URO of the story for as long as it is good:
31 MAR 2004
From Reuters, sent in by a concerned Nigerian:
Harvard teacher bilks friends, falls for scam
BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- Sometimes the scammer just turns out
to become, well, the scammee.
A former Harvard University instructor of medicine who was arrested on
Tuesday for conning friends, colleagues and Internet acquaintances out
of $600,000 was himself duped when he trusted other swindlers with the
money, police said.
Weidong Xu, 38, quickly lost his ill-gotten loot by investing it in a
dubious Nigerian business offer he received by e-mail. The spam message
promised gains of $50 million, police said.
"He's as smart as can be," said Boston police detective Steve Blair.
"But greed got the better of him."
Weidong was arraigned on larceny charges at the Roxbury District Court
in Boston Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $600,000
Weidong started his scam in July when he told his 35 unsuspecting donors
he was trying to set up a SARS research center in China at the peak of
respiratory disease's epidemic.
One of his friends even went so far as to take out a second mortgage on
his house to lend him money.
Police said they arrested Weidong, a citizen of China, after he was
spotted quarreling with one annoyed donor who wanted his $5,000 back.
Neither Harvard University nor the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where
Weidong worked as a researcher until last week, knew of the scheme,
police said. Dana-Farber terminated Weidong last week, prompting his
tenure at Harvard to end. His teaching was contingent on his job at
A spokesman for the Harvard School of Medicine declined to comment on
31 MAR 2004
Nigeria renews efforts to stop 419 scammers
The Nigerian government has launched a new crackdown on organised criminals
who attempt to con email users with get-rich-quick schemes.
According to BBC News Online, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's
political leader, announced an inquiry into the problem on Wednesday,
vowing to "step up measures against these criminal activities."
The notorious email scam is also known as the 419 scam -- 419 being the part
of the Nigerian criminal code that relates to fraud. It begins with a message
offering the recipient a very large sum of money in return for helping to
move an even larger amount of cash out of a foreign bank account.
Anyone who expresses an interest is then told that they must first hand over
a substantial amount of money to cover expenses such as banking fees and
administrative costs. These "advanced fees" often run to thousands of pounds.
Some American victims have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now prevalent online, the 419 scam was originally conducted by post, and then
by letter. It has become an issue of some embarrassment to the Nigerian
government, even though many of those responsible are not thought to be based
in the country at all. Back in May 2002, six people were arrested in
South Africa on suspicion of involvement in the fraud.
President Olusegun Obasanjo's inquiry has two months to come up with ways
of combating the problem, which could include new legislation. Many governments
and police forces have issued warnings about the letters, but those responsible
continue to find victims, and in Nigeria at least, so far appear to have been able
to escape justice.
According to the chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crime
Commission (EFCC), Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, quoted in Lagos' This Day
newspaper recently, Nigeria has yet to convict a single person for the
"How can it be that in South Africa, there are 38 Nigerians convicted for
419, but in Nigeria there is no single conviction. How do you think that the
international community will take us seriously?" Nuhu was quoted as saying.
Nuhu told This Day that the judiciary was being used to frustrate prosecution
of crime suspects in Nigeria: "Any time we commence full prosecution, lawyers
to these 419 kingpins will use the courts to stall prosecution. They will
file one motion or the other at the Court of Appeal. We need to set example
by actual conviction. In this country, there is no single case of conviction,
yet there are over 27 Nigerians in detention for crimes of 419," he said.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
26 MAR 2004
From WPVI-TV Philadelphia, story from Delaware:
DE Lottery Scam Strikes Again
New Castle County Police are investigating a lottery scam that has duped
another senior out of more than $12,000.
An 83-year-old victim paid money to a Canadian company to cover the "costs"
associated with winning an unspecified amount of monies.
On Wednesday (3/24) at 1:30 pm, police responded to the unit block of Capitol
Place in Newark for a theft/fraud complaint. The victim's son reported the
incident, due to his mother's failing health. It was revealed that the victim was
contacted by a Canadian lottery company in July of 2002. An official of the
company advised that she won the lottery (no specific dollar amount).
The victim's son states that after checking his mother's finances, he found she
had written 17 checks to the bogus company from July 2002 until February of
2004. The combined total was over $12,000. The son reported his mother was
contacted by officials at the company frequently, and sent payments as
This is the third documented case that police have investigated in the past five
months involving this type of deception/scam targeting seniors. County Police
are asking anyone who has been contacted by a Canadian Lottery or
Sweepstakes company to call the police department at 395-8171.
REMEMBER, a legitimate lottery official will never call you by phone and
certainly not collect any money for "costs."
24 MAR 2004
Sent in by a Concerned Nigerian from the Australian
news site, The Inquirer:
Aussie mastermind behind Nigerian scam
Disabled man faces over 23 charges
By INQUIRER staff
A MAN already in clink may be the mastermind behind the Nigerian spam scam, Australian
Despite being behind bars since October, the police think Nick Marinellis has managed to
keep running his network and committed seven other offences while on remand.
Marinellis had already been charged with 17 offences including obtaining money by deception
and conspiracy to cheat and defraud over the so-called Nigerian or West African scam which
fleeced victims of $5 million.
The 39-year-old disability pensioner, from Sydney, faces seven new charges including using
false tax returns to obtain a $720,000 loan and writing letters to his wife and girlfriend - separate
individuals - to allegedly pervert the course of justice.
He is accused of working with "unknown African males" to target victims in Australia and
overseas, including a Saudi sheik who was defrauded of $571,302.
He was first fingered for the alleged crimes by television hacks who filmed him apparently
boasting about his scamming prowess. He probably wasn't expecting that.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
21 MAR 2004
From the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian:
Remanded Rep, Ibekwe, Dies
MEMBER of the House of Representatives, Maurice Ibekwe, who since last year, had been
standing trial over '419' related offences, is dead.
According to a release by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission late last night,
Ibekwe died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. The Lagos High Court had last
week ordered that he be taken to the hospital following his failing health.
Ibekwe, and others still remanded, was alleged to have defrauded a foreigner through the
infamous '419' means.
The EFCC head of media and publicity,
Osita Nwajah, told The Guardian, that the commission was informed of Ibekwe's passage
yesterday and that a condolence message had already been sent to the family and the
The statement signed by Nwajah read: "The Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu wishes to covey
the heartfelt condolence of the Commission to the family of the deceased and his colleagues in
the National Assembly.
"We grieve the loss the lawmaker whose path crossed with that of the EFCC when the
Commission had to investigate and prosecute him over charges of Advance Fee Fraud".
The statement alleged that the deceased had "frustrated every move to commence trial and
speedily dispose of the case", even though he "maintained his innocence".
Added the statement, "the defence team managed to exploit all manners of legal loopholes to
stay proceedings, stall hearing of the substantive matter and by so doing, effectively prevented
the EFCC from proving its case or the accused, his innocence".
Nwajah also added that Ibekwe "was remanded on the orders of the courts in prison custody
while the legal footdragging went on..."
The late Ibekwe had recently claimed that his health was deteriorating, urging the public to
intervene in his case so that the federal government would influence his release from custody.
[This matter was also covered in ThisDay and other Nigerian newspapers]
419 Coalition Comment: We'd rather have had him convicted than dead.
11 MAR 2004
From the Nigerian newspaper, The Guardian:
Obasanjo raises group to tackle cyber crimes
by Madu Onuorah, Abuja
PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday inaugurated the Nigerian
Cyber-crime Working Group to immediately begin tackling the malaise of
Internet and other electronic crimes that have become a source
of great embarrassment to the country.
The President said while accepting the report of the Presidential
Committee on Cyber-crime at the Council Chambers of the Villa in Abuja,
that the working group must protect information communication technology
(ICT) infrastructure that are critical to the nation's economic security
and social interests.
Under a new act being forwarded to the National Assembly for enactment,
all crimes carried out with the use of computers, electronic and/or
ancillary devices will be punished accordingly.
The crimes are categorised into three. The first group includes
unauthorised access to computer systems, access exceeding authorisation,
computer and system interference, data interception, denial of service,
computer trespass and "e-mail bombing."
The second category of crimes include computer contamination, illegal
communications, computer vandalism, cyber squatting, cyber terrorism,
cyber pornography and intellectual theft.
Also included in this category are the use of computers to corrupt a
minor, soliciting to compel prostitution, sending obscene materials to
minors over the Internet, indecent exposure and tampering with computer
The third category includes crimes targeted against critical
infrastructure in Nigeria. This aspect protects infrastructure that are
critical to the nation's security, economic and social interests.
The group has the following terms of reference:
initiating public enlightenment, educating Nigerians on cyber-crime and
why the government is seeking to control it;
undertaking international awareness programmes for the purpose of
informing the international community of the government's actions;
providing technical and legal assistance to the National Assembly on
cyber-crime issues in order to promote general understanding and
guarantee speedy enactment of the law;
formulating technical and legal guidelines necessary for the immediate
take-off of the National Cyber-crime Agency upon enactment into law;
carrying out institutional consensus building amongst law enforcement,
intelligence and security agencies for the purpose of easing any
jurisdictional or territorial conflicts or concerns of duties overlap
for the soon-to-be established agency; and
reviewing, in conjunction with the office of the Attorney-General of the
Federation, all multilateral and bilateral treaties between Nigeria and
the rest of the world in respect of cyber-crime.
According to President Obasanjo, "apart from dealing frontally with the
few fraudsters amongst us who utilise ICT systems and infrastructure to
commit crimes in cyber-space, it is imperative that we begin now to take
steps to protect the huge investments that this government and the
private sector have committed into developing ICT in Nigeria.
"This is the only way we can restore commercial trust in our system,
with the consequences of sustaining private sector interest in Nigeria
and attracting the much-needed foreign direct investment."
National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Mohammed-Gusau, headed the
committee inaugurated by President Obasanjo on November 26, 2003 to
recommend a solution to the problem of cyber-crime or 419".
The committee, following the inauguration, was transformed into the
419 Coalition Comment: Committees, commissions, indeed even laws
are useless if they are Not Enforced, and this is what has historically
been the problem with Nigerian counter-419 "efforts" - lack of Enforcement,
not lack of laws. But hey, if these new laws etc. will actually result in a
tangible, quantifiable, and sustained effort to arrest 419ers, seize their
assets at home and abroad, convict the 419ers, and repatriate the funds
they stole in anything like the numbers warranted by the massive size
of Nigerian 419 operations, then we are all for them. If these new laws
proposed don't do that, then they will be largely superfluous as all
of the currently existing Nigerian counter-419 statutes have been to
date, despite the efforts of the EFCC and others.
8 MAR 2004
From The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Financial crimes panel urges change in criminal law
FOR the war against economic and financial crimes to be successful, major changes must be
made in the existing criminal procedures and Law of Evidence, the nation's top blue-collar
crimes investigator has warned.
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu also
assured at the weekend that given the right support, he could stamp out Advanced Fee Fraud
(or 419) within two years.
Ribadu, who featured in a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja, said that some
obsolete laws were responsible for the slow dispensation of justice in the country.
"We inherited some of them from the British, and even the UK has abandoned them for long," he
"We want the laws to be amended and I have sent the proposed amendments to the President
and it is still following bureaucratic channels," he added.
The EFCC executive chairman lamented the absence of a good record of enforcement, as
corruption has always stifled the development of a successful enforcement culture in the
While dismissing suggestions for a special court to try financial crimes, Ribadu was of the view
that "if we improve the laws we have and apply them properly, it would assist the system."
Citing the case of the Internet and the use of e-mails, which are not in the laws, Ribadu said that
with the amendment, the use of e-mails to dupe or cheat people will be punishable.
He said that the commission was also asking for improvements in the area of monitoring
banking, bureau de change operations and cybercafes in order to prevent their facilities from
being used in duping people, since "it is their responsibility to know their customers very well."
"If they turn their places into havens of 419ers and fraudsters, then such banks and others must
be asked to pay and be accountable for the offences committed," he stressed.
Ribadu also said that the commission had since June last year proposed a law to regulate the
operations of cybercafes in the country, noting that they are widely used as centres for sending
The EFCC, he added, was determined to take on these challenges as the menace of scam
letters had destroyed Nigeria's image and that of its citizens, who are largely seen as
Ribadu added that the proliferation advance fee fraud appeared to have gone out of control
because the nation did not address the problem for many years.
"419 started as far back as 1988. None of those who started it were punished and they became
very powerful and as a result, others started to copy them," he said.
Going by the number of arrests and other achievements by the EFCC in the eight months of its
existence, Ribadu expressed optimism that cases of 419 would be eliminated in two years time.
Said he: "The way we want to address this 419 issue is to arrest those that make profit out of it;
we want to show them that even if you succeed, you will never get a place to sit and enjoy it.
"We will take the money away from you, we will send you to jail. With this, we will send a strong
signal to serve as deterrent to others."
While soliciting the support and co-operation of all Nigerians to enable EFCC succeed, he said
that with a boost in its finance and right working environment, the feat would be achieved.
He disclosed that "things are very tight" for the commission, as only N300 million was allocated
to it for its capital budget, while the rent on its present offices would expire in July.
Calling for the co-operation and support of the media, he appealed to journalists to shun
overtures by some people, "who would want to use them" against the EFCC.
419 Coalition comment: We think that Chairman Ribadu's dismissal
of suggestions of separate court to try 419 crimes was a bit hasty,
given that in a recent article he stated that there are 50,000 to 100,000
419ers in Nigeria, by his estimate (we think that is quite conservative).
If EFCC starts arresting them in the numbers warranted by his own
numbers, the quantity would be sufficient to clog the Nigerian court
system into immobility for many years. Therefore, it is our view
that the concept of separate courts or tribunals for 419 offences
as a method of more rapidly processing these yet to be made
mass arrests is not something which should be dismissed out
of hand. Who knows, perhaps EFCC itself could operate in a
quasi-judicial capacity like the Internal Revenue Service in
the US does and like the Departments of Motor Vehicles in
the 50 States do and the existing Court system or a set of new
419 Courts could only hear appeals they agree to hear?
Anyway, food for thought.
4 MAR 2004
From Metro, a French newspaper, in French:
by Christophe D'Antonio
Tout commence par un e-mail venu d'Afrique. Quelqu'un a besoin de votre aide. Il y a des
millions à se partager... est une arnaque. Et, depuis vingt ans, elle fait chaque jour de
"Je me nomme James Sankoh et je suis le fils de feu le Dr Divine Sankoh, directeur des mines
de Sierra Leone assassiné par des rebelles de Sam Bockary. Après le décès de notre père,
nous nous sommes installés en Côte d'Ivoire avec 19 millions de dollars (...) Compte tenu du
climat politique instable (...) ma mère cherche un partenaire pour investir cette somme hors du
continent, en échange de 15% du total de nos biens".
La plupart d'entre nous, lorsque nous recevons ce genre d'e-mail, nous l'expédions dans la
poubelle de notre ordinateur en flairant une entourloupe, comme ces spams qui nous
promettent de doubler la taille de notre verge. Malheureusement pour eux, certains y
répondent, poussés par l'espoir que c'est peut-être la chance qui frappe à leur porte. Les plus
vulnérables s'embarquent alors dans une aventure où la chance n'a aucune part.
Contrairement à une idée reçue, le but des escrocs nigérians qui se cachent derrière ces
messages n'est pas d'obtenir vos coordonnées bancaires. Il n'y a pas beaucoup à voler sur
un compte chèque : personne ne laisse dormir ses économies sur un compte qui rapporte 0%
d'intérêt. L'art de l'escroquerie consiste à installer un climat de confiance et de confidentialité
pour isoler la victime de son entourage, puis à lui faire payer, progressivement et sous des
prétextes variés, des sommes d'argent de plus en plus importantes.
"L'art de l'escroquerie consiste à installer un climat de confiance et de confidentialité, pour
isoler la victime de son entourage, puis à lui faire payer, progressivement et sous des
prétextes variés, des sommes d'argent de plus en plus importantes."
Dans un premier temps, on lui demande de prendre contact avec un avocat auquel il faudra
verser une provision. C'est lui qui effectuera les démarches administratives, dûment
sanctionnées par des documents d'apparence officielles, pour que son "client" devienne
le nouveau propriétaire en titre d'une fortune de vingt ou trente millions de dollars. Lui encore
qui obtiendra, contre quelques frais supplémentaires, un certificat prouvant que l'argent ne
provient pas du trafic de drogue. Encore un faux : ce genre de certificat n'existe pas. Plus tard, il
y aura encore des frais de banque et des frais de gardiennage pour la malle contenant les
billets. Fin du premier acte.
Vient l'heure du rendez-vous dans une ville étrangère pour collecter l'argent. Une règle
intangible pour les arnaqueurs : attirer le "mugu" (pigeon, dans l'argot des Nigérians) sur un
territoire étranger où il sera plus vulnérable. Le conditionnement commence : le rendez-vous
est sans cesse reporté et, avec l'attente, monte un sentiment d'urgence. Enfin, lorsque la
victime, dépitée, s'apprête à repartir, on l'informe qu'elle a rendez-vous dans une heure...
Deux Africains courtois et bien habillés l'attendent dans une chambre d'hôtel avec une malle
renfermant des liasses de papier noir. L'argent a été "sali" pour décourager les voleurs (il
existe une variante plus sophistiquée avec des billets tamponnés à l'encre). Mais il suffit
d'appliquer un produit chimique et le bout de papier noirci retrouve l'aspect d'un billet de cent
dollars. Problème : il n'y a plus de produit chimique ! Il faut en acheter et c'est une denrée rare
et chère : entre 100 000 et 250 000 dollars.
François D., un pilote de ligne pourtant familier de l'Afrique, a vécu cette scène, il y a six ans,
dans un hôtel de Cotonou, au Bénin. "Je regardais le type, les mains plongées dans une
bassine, en train de laver les billets. J'étais trop fatigué pour réaliser car ils m'avaient tiré de
mon sommeil un quart d'heure plus tôt. Instinctivement, je m'accrochais à la mallette qui
contenait mes 100 000 dollars. Puis, dans un moment de faiblesse, je l'ai lâchée.
Le temps que je réagisse, les deux types avaient sauté dans un taxi." De retour en France, il
fera analyser ce qui reste au fond du flacon : du savon liquide.
Les "mugus" qui n'ont pas les moyens de payer rentrent chez eux mais leurs correspondants
nigérians maintiennent la pression. Après quelques jours, ils les informent qu'ils ont trouvé un
investisseur prêt à partager les frais. La victime reçoit alors un chèque dudit investisseur qu'elle
dépose à sa banque. Rassurée de voir son compte créditeur de 100 000 dollars, elle vire la
même somme aux escrocs. Une très mauvaise surprise l'attend, quelques jours plus tard,
lorsque sa banque l'informe que le chèque était contrefait et qu'elle est désormais débitrice de
100 000 dollars... Il n'est pas rare, en effet, que deux semaines s'écoulent avant que la banque
émettrice ne repère le faux chèque. Fin du deuxième acte.
Il existe un dernier raffinement pour ratisser ceux qui ne sont pas déjà ruinés, un troisième acte :
Quelques mois passent et la victime reçoit un appel d'un enquêteur du gouvernement nigérian
qui se propose de l'aider à récupérer son argent. Bien entendu, il faudra engager des frais...
Au début, les victimes étaient ciblées en fonction de leur surface financière présumée et
sélectionnées à partir des registres des tribunaux de commerce : gérants de société,
directeurs financiers, etc. Les cibles, en nombre limité, étaient approchées par lettre
ou par fax. Avec l'avènement d'Internet et de la messagerie électronique, l'entreprise a pris une
autre dimension. Désormais, chaque abonné internet devient une cible potentielle.
Cette escroquerie, connue sous le terme de "advance fee fraud" (AFF) ou fraude 419, en
référence à un article du code pénal nigérian, a déjà fait, depuis vingt ans, plusieurs dizaines
de milliers de victimes dans le monde et rapporté à ses auteurs plus de 5 milliards de dollars,
selon les estimations du des services secrets américains. Pour la France, on ne dispose
d'aucune statistique car les plaintes sont "noyées" dans la catégorie escroquerie. Mais il ne
s'agit là que d'évaluations car, selon une autre estimation admise par toutes les polices du
monde, une victime sur dix seulement porte plainte. Les neuf autres, accablées par la honte ou
la culpabilité, préfèrent se taire.
Selon certains policiers, l'envoi massif d'e-mails commencerait cependant à avoir un effet
contre-productif. Ainsi, il existe aujourd'hui de nombreux sites d'information bien documentés
qui jouent un rôle de prévention. Par ailleurs, des centaines d'internautes ont comme hobby de
"pourrir la vie" des escrocs en les entraînant dans des correspondances interminables avant
d'en publier l'intégralité sur des sites spécialisés. Enfin, de façon plus discrète mais plus
efficace, s'est constitué un groupe d'activistes qui perturbent les opérations des réseaux
nigérians en piratant leurs boîtes e-mail. L'action de ce Confusion Group, ainsi qu'il se nomme,
vise à alerter les victimes potentielles. Selon l'un de ses animateurs, il en prévient en moyenne
80 par jour.
La tentation existe donc, en misant sur la diffusion de l'information, de laisser cette escroquerie
s'éteindre d'elle-même, faute de victimes. "On a atteint un plafond au-delà duquel l'effet
confidentiel sur lequel repose l'escroquerie est désamorcé", estime le commissaire Didier
Duval, le patron de l'Office central de répression de la grande délinquance financière
(OCRGDF). "En réalité, la plupart des services de police n'ont pas de budget pour enquêter sur
ces affaires : il y a d'autres priorités, juge Frank Engelsman, un enquêteur privé néerlandais qui
assiste des victimes depuis dix ans. Et sans budget, ça devient un bâton merdeux : le premier
réflexe du policier est de glisser la plainte sous la pile".
L'optimisme du commissaire Duval n'est pas partagé, non plus, par son collègue néerlandais,
l'inspecteur Cees Schep. Depuis deux ans, Amsterdam est devenue, avec Londres et Madrid,
l'un des trois centres européens de l'AFF. Ainsi, en 2003, la police néerlandaise a enregistré
300 plaintes de victimes étrangères, dont cinq Français, attirées à Amsterdam par des
escrocs. Préjudice total :
20 millions de dollars. "Pour avoir une idée de l'ampleur réelle du problème, il faut multiplier ce
chiffre par dix", rappelle Cees Schep. Après plusieurs mois d'enquête, la police néerlandaise a
effectué un coup de filet à Amsterdam, le 28 janvier, qui s'est soldé par l'interpellation de 52
Selon Interpol, il y aurait entre 10 000 et 15 000 Nigérians expatriés, liés à ces réseaux
criminels, installés sur tous les continents. "C'est devenu un problème global", estime Pascal
Tagni, un officier d'Interpol, qui souligne que ces réseaux sont impliqués dans d'autres activités
criminelles comme le trafic de stupéfiants, de faux papiers d'identité et de fausses cartes bancaires.
La France semble avoir été encore relativement épargnée. Une explication possible serait la
barrière de la langue. Les Nigérians étant anglophones, ils ont d'abord ciblé les Etats-Unis et
la Grande-Bretagne. Ainsi, les premiers e-mails en français ne sont apparus que depuis
quelques mois et, encore, sont-ils rédigés dans une langue approximative. Cependant, cette
barrière de la langue n'est pas une garantie à toute épreuve. Déjà, plusieurs réseaux sont à
l'oeuvre à Paris, dont l'un dirigé par un certain Dave Williams (un pseudonyme), qui se fait
passer pour diplomate et auquel ont eu affaire plusieurs victimes étrangères venues chercher
fortune à Paris. "Ne vous faites pas d'illusions, votre tour viendra", assure Cees Schep, le
"Si j'ai appris quelque chose au cours de ces dix ans, renchérit Frank Engelsman, c'est que
ces escrocs se perfectionnent tous les jours et qu'ils ne renoncent jamais".
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
3 MAR 2004
From the BBC World Service program "Go Digital", third in a three
part series, the first and second parts are up in 1 and 3 MAR 2004
Nigerian scammers in line of fire
In the third of three reports on e-mail fraud, Go Digital's Tracey Logan meets Nuhu Ribadu,
head of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who is trying to end so-called
419 e-mail scams.
Tracey Logan : What has been the impact of the internet on the 419-type of fraud?
Nuhu Ribadu : Massive because fraudsters can send you something, get you to believe what
they are sending and get you to send your money. They used to do it by telephone or fax, or
sending a bogus letter. The development of the internet makes it a lot easier for them.
They can send thousands and thousands of messages all over the world and get someone
hooked. It has simplified the whole process for them. The internet is now 80 to 90% of the way
they use to transmit those scam letters.
TL : These scams are widely referred to as the Nigerian 419 fraud. Do you accept that it is
largely Nigerian criminals that are doing this sort of thing?
NR : It is going on all over the world. But this particular one has become very popular in Nigeria,
probably we had this difficulty in bringing people to justice. It became a successful thing in
Nigeria and people were making money out of it. Somehow we failed to address the problem.
We failed to stop it.
Handful of scammers
TL : Are the scams run by organised crime?
NR : It is wrong to say it is organised. It is a thing that is being done by individuals. It is an
individual thing to do that is easy to do and find very gullible victims, and probably greedy
people, who believe they are going to make money out of the thing and in the process lost their
We are fighting to ensure their is rule of law in the country. We don't want the place to be a
haven for criminals
TL : How big a force is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission?
NR : When we started, the law gave us leverage to bring in people from sister agencies, so we
got people seconded to the commission. Right now we are about 200 to 250 people.
When we started the work, we realised there was so much to it, it was unbelievable. We
realised we would have to prioritise. And we found first that what we ought to concern ourselves
with was this 419 thing.
TL : How much has it damaged Nigeria's reputation?
NR : It has done so much damage to our credibility, our image, our honour. And there are just a
few individuals doing this. We have some 130 million people in Nigeria and I can assure that
there are only between 50,000 and 100,000 people involved in this thing.
TL : Now a lot of people in Nigeria don't have their own computer and use internet cafes. Do
you have enough collaboration from internet cafes themselves?
NR : We are proposing an amendment to the fraud law. At the time the law was passed in 1995,
the internet was not too popular and not very widely used as it is today. So the law did not
address the use of the internet. We are proposing an amendment that will give us adequate
authority and power to oversee the internet cafes, banking sector and telecoms companies.
What we intend to do is to tell them that they must police their facilities and not allow them to be
used by criminals to defraud and cheat people. If you allow it, you will be personally liable. It is
the same with the banking sector. If you allow your bank to dupe someone, you will be
personally liable, you will be asked to pay back this money.
TL : You are quite a small force. How will you face up to the fraudsters?
NR : No doubt we will have a fight in front of us. The good thing is we are ready. We are not
going to run away from that. We are ready to fight. We look at the work as national service. We
are out there and there is a war going on. There is no alternative.
We want to show to the whole world that most of us are really concerned about this problem. We
are good people in Nigeria. We are fighting to ensure there is rule of law in the country. We
don't want the place to be a haven for criminals. Nigeria is changing. There is a quiet revolution
You can hear more about e-mail fraud, the story of the victims and about the forces trying to
catch the scammers on this week's Go Digital on the BBC World Service.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
2 MAR 2004
From the BBC World Service program "Go Digital", second in a three
part series, the first part is up in 1 MAR 2004 News:
E-mail scam victim counts his losses
In the second of three reports on the murky world of e-mail fraud, Go Digital's Tracey Logan tells
the story of a man conned out of thousands of dollars.
The victim was exactly the kind of person they prey upon - an experienced, small businessman,
highly educated, 40-ish, with plenty of disposable income.
He never did accumulate a workforce of 10-15 people, that other typical characteristic of 419
fraud victims. Now, perhaps, he never will.
Millions of us receive enticing e-mails from online fraudsters every day, but very few of us hit the
This businessman, who asked to remain anonymous, did because this was a particularly
sophisticated, highly organised version of a scam born in West Africa and named after the
Nigerian legal code, number 419, it violates.
Was it greed, opportunism or just an entrepreneurial spirit that led our victim, who asked to
remain anonymous, into a two-year nightmare that led not to a windfall of $2m, but instead to the
loss of his business and $200,000 dollars in cash?
Even now, as he strives to rebuild his life and smooth the stresses to his marriage, he continues
to be pestered by digital conmen.
This offer, from a Yahoo e-mail account that cannot be traced, came last week:
"Compliments of the season. My name is Ronald Bassey i (sic) am the director of the legal
department of Global Apex Bank. I have decided to assist you to get your payment before the
end of next week.
"But first you must agree to give me USD8,000 when you receive your funds. You must show
proof that you have this amount by paying it to Western Union, in my favour."
This time he did not reply.
Two years ago, after a successful business career spanning 16 years, our man decided to go it
alone with his own business.
He posted information on the internet about his plans, including a business e-mail address, and
was very quickly contacted by a professional-sounding African businessman called Vincent.
Vincent said he had $12m cash burning a hole in his pocket that he wanted to move out of Africa
and into a US bank account.
Once convinced that he was not being asked to do anything illegal under US law, our man went
ahead with their proposition.
"They told me the funds would be transferred into a special business account I had set up for
the purpose, and that they would give me 20% commission if I would manage these funds over
the next two years," the victim told Go Digital.
But the millions never arrived.
Problem after problem
"It was communicated back to me that there was a problem, it couldn't be done directly.
"And so I was asked to make an initial investment of $7,000 into an offshore account which, once
established, could be used to deposit their millions and so I would get my cash back."
Victim of e-mail scam
Yet still he failed to smell a rat, perhaps because of the slickness of the conmen's operation.
By now the original contact, Vincent, had gained a partner, supposedly a banking official, who
set up the supposed offshore account.
"They gave me an account number, a PIN number, a number to dial in," said the businessman.
"I could go in there and I could push a button and it asked for my account number, and I would
put that in.
"And then it would ask for my PIN number and then I would get information on my account, just
like I would get here via phone from my personal bank here in the States."
Not only that, but official-looking banking documents were sent to our victim for his completion.
Yet still the promised money failed to materialise.
"When I started to get worried was downstream, when I had several thousand dollars invested,
and all of a sudden there seemed to be just problem after problem.
"And I'm thinking, boy, I've got all this money involved, and I told them there's no way I'm going
to put any more money in and yet the contacts continued," said the victim.
Our man started getting really worried after about four months when they started avoiding his
calls, and all sorts of different contacts entered the scene, based in different countries.
Some, like the man calling himself Ronald Bassey who got in touch last week, offering help in
tracking down the scammers.
Others, with hope that the bank transfer was finally to go take place within a day or two. But then,
he would be frustrated to find a deposit in the hundreds, not millions of dollars.
It has been almost two years since the nightmare began that brought a successful businessman
to the point of despair.
He still has his home and has started to rebuild his shattered business hopes, though the
prospect of self-employment is now a long way off.
Yet strangely, he has mixed feelings about those who conned him out of his dream of financial
"I am extremely angry about the fact that all of this happened. At the same time the individual
that spearheaded this thing was always polite and considerate.
"In one way I'd like to get my hands around his throat and wring his neck and yet, in another, I
wouldn't because I'm not that type of person," said the victim.
Here is the link to this piece for as long as it is good:
1 MAR 2004
From the BBC World Service "Go Digital" program:
Lure of black money scam
In the first of three reports on the murky world of electronic fraud, Go Digital's Tracey Logan
investigates the "black money" scam.
It was 2 November 1999 when an American executive wired the sum of $742,000 dollars into a
business account in the name of H Nsakala. This should have been the last he saw of his
Nobody knows how many experienced businessmen fall for the offer of a cool million or two, by
e-mailers announcing themselves as corrupt Nigerian businessmen.
But by the time police get involved, victims have usually lost, not gained, more than £250,000,
much borrowed from friends, families and even employees.
In the past 12 months, 15 cases have come to light in the City of London, a financial district
measuring just one square mile.
These advance-fee frauds are also known as "419 scams", named after the section of the West
African country's criminal code that prohibits fraud.
Across the capital, police have investigated over 100 similar crimes. But, because of their
complex, international web of deceit, the criminals are hard to track down and, in most cases,
victims will never see their money again.
So Detective Inspector Barry Bryan of the City of London Police Fraud Squad, could not believe
his eyes last year when he spotted a Gold Visa card, bearing a photo of its owner, in the name
of H Nsakala.
He told the BBC's Go Digital that proved to be a vital, evidential link, to an account in the same
name used to defraud three businessmen in America, Hong Kong and Holland, out of a total
$4.3 million dollars.
The bearer's real name is Monsuro Adeko, and police found him in possession of 162 credit
and debit cards, 15 birth certificates, 38 driving licences and 22 British and Dutch passports.
Now serving nine years, the longest sentence ever obtained by the Fraud Squad, Adeko was
convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy to defraud, forgery and counterfeiting.
Best of all for the victims, the judge ordered Adeko and his wife, also in prison for money
laundering, to pay £948,582 in compensation to his victims.
Police seized their family home in Essex and a bond valued at £500,000 so victims will see
most of their money again.
In a bizarre twist, one of the three businessmen had begun to think the fraudsters would finally
deliver the promised millions.
But this was just another con, well known to police around the world as the black money scam.
Money for nothing
It is con that affects Norwegians in particular and, at a police convention last year, they
demonstrated how it works.
The victim is told their money is waiting for them in a foreign country, such as Germany. On
arrival, they meet their contact who opens a briefcase filled with black wads of paper.
These are $100 bills, according to the fraudster, dyed black to evade customs in their country of
origin, usually somewhere in West Africa.
The victim watches as a black note from the case is sprayed with special chemical and, by
sleight of hand, a $100 bill is produced.
A payment of just $50,000 will secure enough of the chemical to clean up the cash in the case.
"Of course, it's just water" said Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Moore of the City of London
police, "and the black notes just worthless pieces of paper".
The best thing, say the police, is not to reply to any e-mails offering money for virtually nothing.
This could lead not only to a loss of funds, but a criminal prosecution for money laundering if
you suspect the money might be the result of criminal activities.
"If an offer looks too good to be true then it generally is," said DCI Moore.
"If you can't afford to lose the money then don't get involved."
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
24 FEB 2004
From the UK Financial Times:
Crime Commission: The police of the private sector
By Michael Peel
Nigeria's new Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has made an optimistic but
unavailing request for N4.8bn of government funding for 2004, according to a draft budget seen
by the Financial Times.
The finance ministry recommended giving only N300m and rejected demands for N1.4bn to
establish a financial intelligence unit, N500m for a training academy and N130m to buy vehicles.
The demand and the response to it highlight both the fledgling commission's ambition and the
constraints faced by Nuhu Ribadu, executive chairman, as he tries to counter scepticism about
the government's anti-corruption efforts.
"The work is huge, it's too big," Mr Ribadu says. "What we want to do is not to bite off more than
we can chew."
The commission began work last year after widespread domestic and international criticism of
Nigeria's performance on corruption and money laundering issues since the government first
came to power in 1999. Nigeria has come under heavy pressure from the Financial Action Task
Force, an inter-governmental anti-money laundering body that blacklisted the country in 2001. In
June 2002, the task force recommended Nigeria face financial sanctions unless it improved its
controls in a number of areas such as criminalising money laundering, reporting suspicious
transactions and creating better customer identification requirements.
In a follow-up report last year, the task force welcomed anti-money laundering laws enacted by
Nigeria in December 2002, including the creation of the commission. Mr Ribadu, a senior police
officer, says the commission's wide-ranging ambit includes money laundering and other fraud,
banking, economic sabotage, tax evasion and terrorist financing. Asked to differentiate the
commission's role from those of the myriad existing law enforcement authorities already
working on corruption issues, Mr Ribadu describes his organisation as "the police of the private
In its early days, the commission seized upon the notorious issues of advance fee frauds, in
which Nigerian criminal gangs extract money from greedy and gullible westerners by using
promises of much larger returns later on. Mr Ribadu says the commission has made more than
250 arrests, taken about 50 cases to court and seized property worth more than $300m.
It has brought to trial five people on charges relating to the alleged theft of $190m from Brazil's
Banco Noroeste, which would constitute the world's largest advance fee fraud.
Mr Ribadu says the prosecution is an early sign of the commission's commitment to combating
a fraud problem that has undermined Nigeria's "credibility, image and honour" and has
discouraged investment in the country. Issues to be examined include import duty scams, tax
evasion and the large-scale theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta. The commission is particularly
keen to examine the oil industry's finances after a case last year in which Halliburton of the US
admitted a subsidiary paid $2.4m in bribes to evade millions of dollars of tax.
The commission has interpreted its mandate broadly and some of its early successes have
raised concerns over whether it is trying to do too much too soon.
The commission's task is made more difficult given Nigeria's history of public sector corruption,
political interference in the legal process and financial transactions that lack documentation.
One western law enforcement officer says he is encouraged by the spirit of co-operation at the
commission but thinks it could find itself overstretched, adding that even well-resourced anti-
money laundering bodies in western countries can a year or more to start operating at full
Mr Ribadu admits clashes with the responsibilities of other government institutions are possible,
given that such roles are often not well-defined.
In a country where the police force is widely considered to be one of the most corrupt public
institutions, Mr Ribadu knows it is essential the commission is not seen as an organisation
riddled with the kind of fraud it is supposed to prevent.
The commission may see itself as underfunded and overworked but it has at least managed to
secure N300m for office restructuring and equipment such as stun guns and bugging devices, if
not the N1bn it wanted for a new headquarters building.
"There's no money," Mr Ribadu says. "But we work hard towards getting it. It's so important to
sanitise the country, apply the rule of law, to do things correctly."
Here is the URL of the article from the TI website for as long as
it is good:
419 Coalition Note: We've long suggested that Nigeria fund
counter-419 operations by earmarking a "fee" of say 10% of
recovered and repatriated funds for same, FYI.
24 FEB 2004
From the Nigerian newspaper, the Guardian:
Court rejects bail bid by suspected fraud kingpins
From Emmanuel Onwubiko, Abuja
JUSTICE Lawal Gummi of an Abuja High Court yesterday rejected bail applications by three
Nigerians accused of defrauding a Brazilian bank of N36.3 billion.
The alleged scam has been described as the single biggest case of advance fee fraud in the
Gummi, who is also the Chief Judge of Abuja, held that the suspects could jump bail. He will
tomorrow rule on a similar application by two lawyers arraigned for allegedly attempting to
bribe the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu
Ribadu, in a bid to secure freedom for the fraud suspects.
The suspects are Chief Emmanuel Nwude (a.k.a. Tossman, Paul Ogwuma Odinigwe), Mrs.
Amaka Martina Anajemba (a.k.a. Mrs. Rasheed Gonwalk, Rossy Ford, Olisa Agbakoba) and
Mr. Nzeribe Okoli.
Two legal practitioners, Emmanuel Ofule and Obum Osakwe, are facing a seven-count charge
of trying to bribe Ribadu. Ofule is a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos
Anajemba's legal team, led by Chief Chris Uche (SAN), immediately proceeded to the Court of
Appeal, Abuja Division, to challenge Justice Gummi's ruling.
Nwude's legal team is headed by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) and Ricky Tarfa (SAN),
while Okoli is being represented by Chief Clement Akpamgbo (SAN).
While Nwude and Okoli had anchored their prayers for bail on the constitutional provisions as
enshrined in Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, Anajemba cited both the constitution and a
compassionate ground of being a widow and mother of four little children.
But Justice Gummi held that they might jump bail, adding that there is prima facie case of fraud
as alleged in the 86-count charges preferred against them by the Federal Government.
The judge, who sat at exactly 9.00 a.m. and ended the session before adjourning to March 22 at
9.45 a.m., however made an order for speedy trial, noting that the suspects had spent over eight
months in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Section 35(4) of the constitution states: "Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance
with sub-section (1)(c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable
time, and if he is not tried within a period of (a) two months from the date of his arrest or detention
in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail or (b) three months from the
date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who has been released on bail, he shall
without prejudice focus further proceedings that may be brought against him be released either
unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he
appears for trial at a later date."
The judge agreed with the accused persons' lawyers that the constitution makes bail a
constitutional right for his clients who are facing bailable charges. He added, however, that he
had not been shown sufficient reason to exercise his jurisdiction by granting the applicants bail.
Justice Gummi held: "The accused have not shown why the court should exercise discretion in
granting them bail. Though the first accused has faced similar charges in the past and he was
granted bail and he turned up, this factor would have been enough to grant him bail, but for the
strong counter-affidavits and proof of evidence from which I am convinced that there exists
prima facie case of alleged fraud and money-laundering which upon conviction carries
sentence of up to 10 years."
The judge added: "Regarding the statement made to the investigators by the first accused,
there is significant material that a prima facie case of money-laundering has been clearly
shown. Considering the factors of the nature of the charges, the severity of the punishment and
the probability that he may not show up for trial, I refuse the bail application."
The counsel to the second accused had told the court that she was only dragged into the matter
because her late husband's name was mentioned in the business transaction.
But Justice Gummi held that her name was cited as the proof of evidence, adding that she might
jump bail since the defence had not shown evidence that she could keep to bail conditions.
The judge promised to make the records of proceedings available to the applicants, to
facilitate their appeal against the ruling and thereafter fixed March 22, 2004 as the return date for
hearing of the substantive matter.
In the substantive matter, the accused persons will face an 86-count charge of defrauding a
Brazilian bank of N36.3 billion.
Mr. Rotimi Jacob is the lawyer for the prosecution team from the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC).
419 Coalition Note: Vanguard and others also covered this story.
18 FEB 2004
From the Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay:
419: EFCC Drags 2 to Court over $48,000 Fraud
By Oghenekevwe Laba
Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) yesterday dragged
Mustapha Olowe and Aluko Abiodun to the Criminal Division of the Lagos High
Court holding at Ikeja for allegedly defrauding Maureen Nwangwu and Harvard
Resources and Investment California USA, the sum of $48,000 approximately
During the hearing, Counsel to EFCC, M. S. Hassan told the court that Olowe
and Mustapha conspired with intent to defraud Nwangwu and Harvard
Resources of $48,000 between March 2003 and May 2003 by falsely
pretending that they could deliver 1.750 million barrels of crude oil.
Consequently, Hassan stated that by obtaining the aforementioned sum of
money by false pretence, they have committed an offence contrary to section 1
(1)(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences
Act No 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No 62 of 1999.
The defence counsel to both Olowe and Mustapha, Barrister Jolaosho and
Barrister Bode Olaosebikan respectively appealed that the court should grant
them time so as settle the dispute between their client and the plaintiff amicably
out of court as they are already making preparation for settlement. They added
that what happened was not fraudulent rather it was a business deal that went
Beside, they also enjoined the court to grant them time so as to file an
application for the bail of the two accuse hence it is a bailable offence.
Delivering judgment, Justice Obadina disagreed with the defence counsels
claim of settling the issue out of court stressing that once an offence has been
committed against the laws of the nation, it is the court that has the sole authority
to deliver judgment.
13 FEB 2004
Sent in by a Concerned Nigerian - From the Canadian TV
website page on the W-five program ( CTV.ca):
Nigerian scams are among the oldest in the book. Also called 419s
after a section in the Nigerian Criminal code, these schemes often
target their victims through an unsolicited fax, email or letter.
Most go something like this: the sender identifies him or herself
as a member of a wealthy African family who is unable to get
their fortune out of the country or they are in possession of a
government contract that can be paid out to anyone listed on
the document. Usually, the perpetrator claims to be a doctor,
a lawyer, a top official with the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation or the child of an ex-general or other important
person, who is seeking a partner who can assist them. These
schemes always promise huge rewards from the opportunity
to double or triple your investment to a cut of millions of
dollars worth of loot in exchange for cash up front.
While these schemes have been around for years, they’ve
recently taken on a Canadian face. And this new twist on an
old trick has got the criminals’ profits soaring.
In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Dan McLaren lost more than
$200,000 through a Nigerian 419 scam. The grain farmer seems
an unlikely victim not someone you’d expect to be tied in with a
young African and his alleged $500 million fortune but McLaren
invested his money believing it could end his struggle to make
McLaren was promised a 500 per cent return on his money if
he helped bring a man named Charles Kofi to Canada where
he could claim his fortune. When he was hit up for extra cash
to cover immigration and flight problems, he continued to shell
out in hopes of seeing the promised returns. But that was several
years ago, and McLaren has yet to see a cent in return.
Skeptics may wonder how McLaren was convinced to buy into
such an old scam. But he trusted that he wasn’t getting conned
because unlike most Nigerian schemes which reach their victims
through a faceless email or letter McLaren was approached by
someone he knew.
Henry J. Statz, who often goes by the name Jerry, was a trusted
and familiar face around Moose Jaw. He approached his victims
with a dramatic story about Charles Kofi one about a shootout
between the young man’s father and uncle over the family fortune;
of Charles finding his dying father and being told it was up to him
to get his family’s estate out of the country.
Statz told his victims Charles’ fortune was in a Barclay’s bank vault
in Toronto, in the form of gold and gold dust, diamonds and cash.
And he claimed a special card called a golden tally that’s now in
the possession of the police would unlock the fortune.
In all, Statz used that story to draw more than $10-million from
dozens of Canadians.
But after being arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit
fraud in August 2002, Statz admitted his story was a complete and
utter fiction, and served 10 months in jail. Now, however, he’s out
and insisting his story was real all along.
Det. Sgt. Mark Simchison, the officer who investigated Statz, says
there’s no way. In my view, he was a very typical con man, Simchison
says. He looked it he had the gold jewelry, he had the black shirt, he
had the shaded sunglasses, and he talked a mile a minute. As soon
as we questioned him to pinpoint him to an answer, he would change
Simchison isn’t basing his belief that Statz is a fraud on appearance
alone. He says most of what he told his victims was out-and-out lies.
Barclay’s bank does not even exist in Canada anymore, let alone
a Barclay’s bank vault. You know, it didn’t take a brain surgeon to
figure that much out it was one call to the Canadian Bankers
Simchison also says that other than his passport, not one of Statz’s
documents was legitimate. Any document pertaining to the Kofi
estate they were all fake. They were all bogus and proven that
by the authorities here and overseas.
As for the golden tally, it’s probably worth about a dollar. And I
do give the Nigerians credit for making that card, but again,
Adobe PhotoShop can work wonders.
But although Simchison classifies Statz as a typical con man, his
scheme wasn’t the typical con. Most of our victims traditionally are
out of country. That’s just the way Nigerian criminals operate. This
one, the victims were Canadian, and it appeared somebody
orchestrating this was Canadian Jerry Statz.
Simchison was intrigued, and his investigation led him to the
heartland of Nigerian crime. Surprisingly, the epicentre isn’t
deep within Africa it’s actually in Amsterdam, in a neighbourhood
where hundreds of 419 operations keep shop.
Bal Ma Meer is an eight kilometre squared area of high-rises,
underground garages and parks, where thousands of men and
women are recruited to work in these boiler room operations.
There, they spend long hours on computers and cell phones
trying to cheat victims around the world.
Compared to other countries, Dutch law is very easy on them,
explains Inspector Rene Van der Wouw, the head of Amsterdam’s
fraud squad. Unlike countries where con artists can face harsher
penalties, in the Netherlands, perpetrators are arrested, serve a
short jail sentence and then are sent out of the country, he says.
But although they are deported, Van der Wouw says the scams
continue because when you arrest one of the West Africans,
he’s easy to replace. It’s hard crime to fight.
Back in Canada, Jerry Statz insists his story isn’t one of those
scams. I’ll swear on my grandfather and my father and my mother,
on their graves, that no, Charles Kofi has never been a scam and
never will be and nobody can make me think that.
Statz maintains that he admitted to making up Charles Kofi back
in 2002 to that charges would be dropped against his girlfriend.
But Simchison says Kofi does exist in a way. For lack of a better
name, I’m going to call him Charles Kofi, but that’s not who he is.
He’s an expatriate Nigerian, operating very well with a lot of criminal
cell support throughout the world. And he’s made a hell of a lot of money.
He’s a person -- we have his picture. We don’t know where he is
right now, but I’d like to get my hands on him or I’d like for the Dutch
National Police to get their hands on him or the Scotland Yard, or
anybody else in the world.
But with thousands of Charles Kofis out there, Simchison
admits it’s going to take a lot more than he has to put an end
to Nigerian scams.
It’s a factory, he says. A 419 factory. I’m not going to stop it.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
You can also View the TV news piece on which this article
is based on your computer at the following URL for as long
as it is good and has the piece up:
There is a place on the page you can click that will allow
you to view the piece on most modern PC equipment.
12 FEB 2004
From the Daily Independent, a Nigerian newsaper:
$242m scam trial: Judge warns defence, prosecution
By Charles Okeke,
Justice Lawal Gumi currently handling the trial of Messrs Emma Nwude, Nzeribe Edeh Okoh
and Mrs. Amaka Martina Anajemba, and four companies on 86 count charge of conspiracy,
obtaining by pretence and offering of bribe to officials of Economic and Financial Crime
Commission on Wednesday, gave stern warning to both the prosecuting and defence counsel
in the matter that the court shall seriously any attempt being made to influence the proceedings
and pervert the course of justice.
At the resumed hearing of the application for bail filed by Adegboyega Awoniolowo (SAN),
Chief Chris Uche (SAN), on behalf of the accused persons, Justice Gumi presiding told the
audience that reports available to him show that some influence peddlers have finalised
arrangements to bribe officials of the court in order to tilt the case in their favour.
He implored the defence counsel and the prosecution led by Rotimi Jacob to caution their
clients that the court is a court of justice and therefore will not succumb to any inducement or
Reacting to the warning, Chief Chris Uche and Barrister Awoniolowo, both defence counsel told
the court that they will not be a party to any scandal that will bring down the integrity of the courts
in Nigeria, and added that they (the defence) are committed to justice and will not allow
anybody to interfere with the course of justice.
The prosecution also made a similar pledge earlier, before the warning by Justice Gumi who
had told the counsel to address him on the scheduled bail applications. First to speak was
counsel to the first accused person and applicant, Chief Awoniolowo, who told the judge that a
bail application has been duly filed on 6th February, while the prosecution filed a counter
affidavit of 20 paragraphs. The learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria urged the court to grant him
a short adjournment to enable him submit a reply to the counter affidavit.
Chief Uche, counsel for Mrs. Anajemba also adopted the same prayer. He told the court that
bail application has been served on the prosecution and that he requires a short adjournment
to give a reply to the counter-affidavit filed by the prosecution opposing the bail request.
Responding, the prosecution led by Jacob stated that he is not opposing the application for
another day so that the motion for bail can be argued.
By the time he (Jacob) was through with his submission, Justice Gumi announced the
adjournment of the case to Wednesday, February 18 to enable the parties prepare and file their
replies and counter affidavits. The bail application proper will be determined at the next hearing
419 Coalition Note: Other Nigerian newspapers, notably Vanguard and
The Guardian, also ran pieces covering the above material. Here are
URL's at which the pieces can be found for as long as they are posted:
The BBC also covered it:
7 FEB 2004
From the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay and The News
The $242m Scam
It could have been an epic bestseller script written by the 'Masters'.
Combining Robert Ludlum's prodigious imagination with Irving Wallace
uncommon ability to spin a complex web of intrigues and conspiracies that
leaves readers shocked in suspense and fascination. Or better still, a James
Hardley Chase most daring fiction script of adventure in crime. But it is
neither. Even though it combines elements of fiction, facts and the bizarre,
it holds everyone dumb-founded and perplexed by its sheer scale in real life
It is a staggering story of a daring conspiracy set against a background of
criminal greed, violence and a life of stupendous affluence and prodigious
greed. As investigators tried to untie this maze of greed and avarice, a
sinister and far reaching plot to subvert the cause of justice also unfolded
gripping them with its compelling and astonishing details. A most heinous
and daring crime with a trail linking the major financial capitals of the
world. To understand the crime and unmask the perpetrators, investigators
tramped the bustling streets of Brazil, pored over files in the stilted bank
offices of Switzerland, burrowed into documents in the highest financial
establishments of avarice driven corporate America, dined with the best of
British buccaneering bankers and perused financial documents in the bubbling
city of Hong Kong. And of course where else would the trail lead to but
Nigeria, the world's second most corrupt country and the "419" capital of
the world. They discovered that a group of Nigerians and their Indian
accomplices had pulled the world's biggest heist without firing a single
shot. Even late Pablo Escobar, the Columbian cocaine czar didn't have
it so easy.
By Shaka Momodu
Nigerians were shocked to their bones last Wednesday when news broke that a
group of suspected Nigerian fraudsters would be charged to court over the
what was termed the "single biggest advanced fee fraud case in the whole
world" by the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC), Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu. Indeed, between May 1995 and February 1998, a
total of US$242 million was reportedly stolen from the Cayman Islands branch
of Brazilian Bank, Banco Noroeste S. A. This money was remitted by swift
transfers through various banks to accounts controlled by two suspected
Nigerian kingpins, Ikechukwu Christian Anajemba and Emmanuel Odinigwe Nwude.
The authorisations for all the transfers came from a senior official of the
bank named Nelson Tetsuo Sakaguchi.
The alleged fraud went undetected until January 1998 when, while Sakaguchi
was on vacation, as part of the intended sale of the Bank to Spanish banking
group Banco Santander, a due diligence inquiry revealed discrepancies in the
bank's books. In late November 1997, the majority shareholders of the bank
had decided to sell their controlling interest in the bank. Investigations
that followed the discovery of the discrepancies revealed that at least
US$242 million was missing from the bank. Of this sum, US$190 million had
been transferred to Nigerians. These transfers were effected directly to
accounts controlled by the Nigerians or through unlawful money changing
operations conducted by Naresh Asnani (a British subject of Indian descent
resident in Nigeria) and Ezugo Dan Nwandu (a Nigerian businessman resident
in Enugu). As a consequence of the discoveries, civil actions aiming to
recover the money were commenced in Brazil, Switzerland, Hong Kong, New York
California, Kentucky and Florida in the United States of America and,
eventually, Nigeria. In addition to the civil actions, criminal complaints
were laid in Brazil, Switzerland, New York, Hong Kong and Nigeria.
In July 2002, investigators acting for the bank's shareholders (with the
assistance of one Dr. Hakim Ukeh - also suspected of participating in the
fraud) persuaded Sakaguchi to visit New York, ostensibly for a meeting with
the shareholders. He was immediately arrested at JFK airport on an
international warrant issued by the Swiss government and extradited to
Switzerland to face money laundering charges. After more than one year in
detention in Switzerland, he admitted involvement in the fraud on October 31
2003 before the investigating magistrate, Mr. Jean-Bernard Schmid. He is now
expected to be sent for trial early this year and most likely found guilty
In December 2002, Naresh Asnani was arrested in Miami, while he was en route
to a meeting with lawyers acting for the shareholders, on an international
warrant issued by the Swiss Government. He too was extradited to Switzerland
to face money-laundering charges. On October 31 2003, he admitted
involvement in the fraud, and he will stand trial on December 19 2003, when
he is expected to plead guilty and to be convicted.
The Ribadu Commission Intervention
The EFCC was created by legislation in December 2002, following upon threats
by the Financial Action Task Force of the OECD to blacklist Nigeria for not
having put in place adequate laws against money laundering. In May 2003, the
Commission attempted to arrest Emmanuel Odinigwe Nwude and Amaka Anajemba
(the widow of Ikechukwu Christian Anajemba, who was killed in mysterious
circumstances in October 1998). Both of them evaded initial arrest, and
instructed Chief F. R. A. Williams (SAN) and Prof. A. B. Kasumu (SAN) to
institute proceedings on their behalf seeking to prevent their arrest and
investigation by the Commission. In November 2003, their action was
dismissed by Justice Pedro of the Lagos High Court.
Sakaguchi had come on a business trip to Nigeria, and was allegedly
introduced to the Nigerian suspects by his friend, Dr. Hakim Ukeh, an
Enugu-based businessman in 1994. Two of the suspects claimed they controlled
the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
One of the accused persons, Nwude, a major shareholder in Union Bank of
Nigeria Plc, reportedly posed as Mr. Paul Ogwuma, the then Governor of the
CBN, while Amaka's husband, Ikechukwu Anajemba, allegedly posed as Alhaji
Mahey Rasheed, who was the CBN Deputy Governor in charge of foreign
operations in 1995.
The unsuspecting Brazilian was deceived into believing that the suspects won
a contract in Nigeria and was asked to send money to facilitate the supposed
contract. Sakaguchi began to send money to designated accounts controlled by
Nwude and others. When the phantom contract was said to have been completed
and payment was not forthcoming, the suspects devised another method to
further milk Sakaguchi. They swindled the Brazilian businessman in eight
In the first installment, $1.2 million was paid into an account in Crystal
Bank of Africa on August 9, 1995 with O.E. Nwude, who represented Stanton,
as beneficiary while $1.5 million was paid to the Commercial Trust Bank with
FynBaz Nigeria Ltd as beneficiary on August 25, 1995, in the second payment.
On August 31, 1995, $500,000 was paid with Nwude Christian Kachi as
beneficiary, and again on September 27, 1995 the sum of $2.55 million was
paid to UWS Landmark as beneficiary.
Other payments made included the sum of $2 million into an account with Gulf
Bank of Nigeria which had Fynbaz as beneficiary on December 8, 1995. Also,
Intercontinental Merchant Bank received a payment of $2 million on February
12, 1996 and $1.3 million was paid into the account of Stanton Development
Corporation on January 1, 1996 and October 28, 1997.
The last payment of $4.75 million was made to Pentagon Co. Ltd. and another
$1.35 million was paid into an account in Nigeria Intercontinental Merchant
Bank Ltd., to Emrus Nigeria Limited
It was discovered in January 1998 that 242 million dollars was missing from
the bank. The bank on investigation, according to sources close to the
investigators, discovered that the money had been misappropriated by
Sakaguchi who was a senior manager in charge of the International Department
"It was discovered that he was authorising swift transfers to various
people who had no business receiving money. These people in the main, turned
out to be Nigerian 419ers. They received a total of 190 million dollars. The
money was partly transferred to them through an Indian resident in Nigeria
called Naresh Asnani. he received 120 million dollars and laundered the
money by paying Naira to Chief Emmanuel Nwude and to Chief Anajemba, but
sometimes he paid Nwude in dollars. After laundering the money in naira,
Asnani then sold the dollars to his Indian friends. Two other chaps called
Naresh Mahbhubani and Pruwani also received money. Core group of Indians
received dollars and paid naira from the stolen money," an investigator told
Some of the stolen money was changed into naira by Ezugo Dan Nwandu who is a
business man, resident in Enugu. He had a Bureau de Change which he was
using to change the dollars. But the transactions were unlawful because
amounts of such magnitude were not supposed to be changed at a Bureau de
change. He changed a total of about 8million dollars for them.
It was when the fraud was detected as a result of civil and criminal
investigations that Sakaguchi was arrested between June and July 2002, in
New York and extradited to Switzerland on six charges of money laundering.
It was also discovered that Naresh Asnani had six bank accounts where large
sums of money passed through in Switzerland. The Swiss have very stringent
money laundry laws. So they issued a warrant for his arrest.
On the October 31, he admitted involvement in the fraud. He is expected to
stand trial any moment from now. Naresh Annani was arrested in Miami in
December 2002. He was on his way to meet with the lawyers for the owners of
the Bank, when he was picked up on the strength of a Swiss warrant and
extradited to Switzerland were he was detained. And on October 10, he
reportedly confessed his involvement. He actually made a substantive
confession detailing how the fraud was perpetrated.
THISDAY checks revealed that some of the people Naresh Asnani sold the money
to are Indian businessmen resident in Nigeria who needed dollars to do
business. Investigations further revealed, he was selling to them at a
better rate, and giving naira to Nwude.
A very popular Indian business family was also indicted. The brothers
reportedly purchased a total of between four and five million dollars from
Naresh Asnani. They have been sued in England for the recovery of this money
and their asserts in the United Kingdom have been charged - there is an
injunction restraining him from parting with the possession of those asserts
Their accounts have been blocked up to a value of over four million dollars
Their defence is that it is not illegal to buy currency from the black
market in Nigeria, since everybody does it and every businessman who imports
has to resort to the black market. It was then pointed out to him that
Asnanis don't have that kind of money and that he should have known that the
money was stolen. But one of the Indian brothers insisted that he didn't
know that the money was the money was stolen and had "no reason" to suspect
that the money was stolen.
THISDAY checks revealed that payments were made to Asnani, between June 1995
and January 1998. And that within that period is when the famous Indian
brothers received the money.
Further checks indicated that the case is being pursued by the original
Shareholders who entered an agreement with the new owners of the bank to
recover the money. A competent source close to the bankers explains that
they were going to sell the bank to Banco Stanander of Spain for over 500
million dollars. But when the fraud was discovered, they agreed to sell the
bank for the same amount they will pay back to Banco Santader which will
then transfer all their claims to that money to the original Shareholders
thus giving them power to try and recover the money."
As at today, all Amaka Anajamba's money, all her assets in the United
Kingdom that have been traced have been seized and her real estate sold.
This is expected to yield about nine million dollars. She also has assets in
Switzerland which have been seized and sold and are expected to yield about
12 million dollars. The proceeds are being transferred to the Shareholders.
In addition, she had a house in California which has also been seized. She
had about one and a half million dollars in an account in Kentucky, that's
Nwude is said to have two houses in California, in the Los Angeles area. And
each of the houses is said to worth about a million dollars each. He also
surrendered about five million dollars to Swiss authorities immediately the
investigations commenced. Nwude also bought shares in Union Bank worth about
10 million dollars. His large holdings automatically made him a director.
What now happened to Nwude's Shares?
THISDAY checks revealed Central Bank placed an embargo on trading in the
shares. The Federal Government also ordered the shares to be blocked.
Tragically, while these suspected fraudsters had their assets seized abroad,
not much was been done in Nigeria until the EFCC under Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu
swung into action, displaying a rare determination to bring the perpetrator
of the massive scam to justice even as they continued to throw legal
impediments on his part.
"We have identified Nwude's assets worth about 30 million dollars. He owns
Russel Suites and Russel Mall in Abuja. It's a big complex. And a very
conservative estimate of the place puts it at about N1.2 billion. He also
has a block of 20 flats on Bourdillion Road, and one of his tenants is the
wife of a South-South governor. Rent paid on each of these flats is put at
$50,000. per annum," a source close to the Brazilians told THISDAY.
Out of the $190 million transferred to beneficiaries, Nwude is believed to
have received $90 million which makes him the biggest beneficiary of the
How The Fraud Was Carried Out
The suspects were said to have sent a fax about a phantom contract won by
Sakaguchi in Nigeria in 1995. Of course, to facilitate the contract, they
requested for funding. Sakaguchi began to send money to designated accounts
controlled by the Anajemba and Odinigwe gang. When he phantom job was said
to have been completed and payment was not forthcoming, the fraudsters
devised another method to milk Sakaguchi further.
They brought up the issue of a phantom contract review panel. On the Central
Bank of Nigeria's letter head, the fake panel wrote to Sakaguchi, informing
him of its decision to pay all foreign contractors, including himself, all
outstanding debts. According to the letter, Sakaguchi was said to have had a
contract worth $187 million with the Ministry of Aviation. The job having
been done and money not paid on time, the phantom review panel recommended
that Sakaguchi be paid his money, with interest. The amount to be paid now
stood at $200.8 million!
But to facilitate this, Sakaguchi, recommended the contract panel must
forward "fluctuational charges" of $6.7 million. That money was deposited in
the foreign banks recommended by the gang. Then all other demands followed:
money to bribe "His Excellency"; money to bribe the "minister" and other
persons as concocted by the gang in Nigeria. Sakaguchi kept sending millions
after millions of dollars, hoping that his pay day would come soonest. There
was no pay day for Sakaguchi, only sorrow-day.
The systematic looting of Sakaguchi reached a climax with the said letter by
the so-called review panel. The unsigned letter that was written on a forged
CBN letterhead and that sounded so illiterate read: "It has been brought to
our notice that a contract sum of $187,381,000 excluding and overriding
interest accrued which is $13,470,070 which sums it up to $200,851.07, this
includes the first, second and final phase respectively for contract number
(FMA/132/019/82) by Federal Ministry of Aviation, which was duly completed
has not been paid for. We confirm that we irrevocably hold on to your $200
851,000 until we receive the fluctuational charges of $6,730,000, this
payment schedule is to be made on or before 18 October 1996. As soon as we
receive the above sum, we shall forward your fund simultaneously to the
Chemica Bank of New York."
On October 16 same year, another letter was written to the Brazilian
informing him that all necessary documentations have been duly perfected for
the immediate release and transfer of his fund by telegraphic transfer to
the designated accounts.
Additional reports by Kunle Aderinokun and Samuel Ajayi
Emmanuel Nwude's Acquisitions From 1995-2001
36 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi (Residence)
60 Marina (Marine View Plaza) Lagos
34 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos (Euro Court Building)
43 Afribank Road, Victoria Island,
80 Allen Avenue, Ikeja
37/39 Awka road, Onitsha
Multi million estate at Wuse zone 2 (Plot 2097) (1) Cadastral zone, A2
Herbert Macaulay Way/Monsterrado Street)
60 chime Avenue, Enugu
2 Trans Ekulu Avenue, GRA Enugu
3-5 Abagana Close, Off Agidingbi Road, Ikeja
Petrol Station at Oye Agu, Abagana
Multi million Country Homes, Abagana
2 Grey High Risers on Abacha Road, Port Harcourt - (6 floors)
Multi million complex, opposite Bonny camp, Lagos
Director in Union Bank as Emmanuel Nwude Odinigwe
Director in G. Cappa
Diamond Bank of Nigeria
Union Bank of Nigeria
Gulf Bank of Nigeria
Rodieem Investment & Properties Co. Ltd (Located on 3rd Floor) 43 Afribank
Road, Victorial Island, Lagos.
Courtesy The News magazine
Late Anajemba's Acquisitions From 1995-2000
No. 9 A&B Akutu Crescent Independence Layout, Enugu
No. 23 Osumenyi Street, Awkunanaw, Enugu
No 9 Bassey Duke Street, New Haven, Enugu
No 9 Ezinifite Street, New Haven, Enugu
No 5 Igbokwe Close G.R.A Enugu
Plot 541 Nnobi Street, (No 15 Nnobi Str Independence layout).
Plot 496 Ezillo Avenue, Independence Layout, Enugu
No. 9 Okoroji Street, Port Harcourt
Plot 1475 & 1555 Asokoro, Abuja
No. 4 Ogui Road Enugu (Godex Headquarters)
New Market Road, estate (Formerly of Ibeto) (N65 million worth)
Guest House at Ekulu Avenue, Enugu
4/6 Umuona St. GRA Enugu
Port Harcourt luxury flats at Abacha Avenue GRA (New) Port Harcourt (Brown 6
13 & 15 Iheaka St. Ekulu West GRA, Enugu
157A & B Chime Avenue, Upper Chime, Enugu
28 Road One, Upper North 5th Trans-Ekulu, Enugu
1470 Hon. Justice Mamman Nasir Asokoro, Abuja
Duplex in a close opposite Odogwu's Shopping Complex in Asokoro, Abuja
behind ( 18) above
70 Allen Avenue, Ikeja (Gulf Bank)
32 Boudillon Road, Ikoyi (10 floors)
2 Fosbery Road, Ikoyi - Lagos
I Cooper Road, Ikoyi - Lagos
6 Floor House in Park View Estate, Ikoyi Lagos
3 Floor House on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi Lagos
No. 6 Anam Street, Upper chime Enugu
5 Buildings of 3 floor each at Ikenga, Ogidi - Anambra State
Uncompleted complex at Aguiyi Ironsi by G. Cappa in Abuja
First Bank, Enugu
Diamond Bank Enugu
Zenith Bank, Matori, Lagos
Standard Trust Bank, Enugu
Savannah Bank, Enugu
Safe Trust (Savings & Loans), Keffi Road, Ikoyi
IBWA (Afribank) Enugu
Gulf Bank, Allen Avenue, Ikeja
Fynbaz Nig. Ltd
Godax Ventures Ltd 3. Ikenga Farms
Dax Properties Ltd
Godax Group of Companies Ltd
First Homes, Lagos (Subsidiary of First Bank of Nig. Plc)
Campbell Tobacco Inc. (Kentucky, USA)
Maxwell Tobacco Inc. (Kentucky, USA)
Irukwu's Insurance Co. Ltd Lagos
Courtesy The News magazine
6 FEB 2004
From the Nigerian newspaper, Daily Times:
N36bn Brazilian bank scam: Court orders five persons remanded
JOSEPH NWANKWO, Abuja
FIVE persons, at the centre of the world's largest advance face fraud (a.k
a. 419) of $242 million (N36.3 billion), yesterday appeared before an Abuja
High Court and were ordered remanded in the custody of the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Chief Judge of the Federal High court, Justice Lawal Gumi, who ordered them
remanded however, said they should be granted access to their lawyers.
Three of them, Emmanuel Nwude, Amaka Anajemba and Nzeribe Okoli, were
accused of obtaining $242 million from one Nelson Sakaguchi and Stanton
Development Corporation, under false pretence, while others, Emmanuel Ofolue
and Obum Osakwe, were charged with Nwude and Anajemba for offering bribes of
$70,000, $30,000 and £21,000, respectively, to EFCC chairman, Alhaji Nuhu
Ribadu and Chief Operations Officer, Malam Ibrahim Lamorde. The money is
said to belong to Banco Noroeste S. A. of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Also standing trial are Fynbaz Nigeria Ltd, Emrus Nigeria Ltd, Ocean Marketing
Company Nigeria Ltd and African Shelter Bureau Nigeria Ltd.
At yesterday's session, the court fixed hearing in their request for bail
for February 11 after directing that a formal application be brought to that
Anajemba's counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), had urged the court to accept
an oral application for bail bearing in mind that the liberty of the accused
persons was involved.
According to him: "because the liberty of citizens are involved, we would
be constrained to make an application for bail for the accused persons. I
want to submit that subject to the court's directive, that in a matter in
which charges have been preferred, this application for bail can be taken
orally. I would rely on the case of Abiola versus Federal Republic of Nigeria,
1995, I NWLR part 370 page 155 at page 177, paragraph B and C, and Ani
versus the state, 2002, INWLR part 747 page 217 and 231 as it is in this
matter, I am most humbly urging the court to maintain that position, that
applications for bail can be taken orally since the matter will be tried by
this court," he stated. Uche maintained that the number of charges
preferred against an accused person does not mean that such charges
have been proven.
Nwude's counsel, Mr. Ubong Akap, in his submissions adopted the arguments
of Uche, adding his client having been in detention since last May 2003,
that it is only fair that he be granted bail through an oral application.
Said he: "We align ourselves with the arguments of the learned senior
advocate, the accused have been in detention since May last year, it is only
fair and in the interest of justice that our application be heard orally,
and your lordships have always held that personal liberty is paramount."
EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, in his argument, agreed with the decision
in Abiola versus FRN cited by the defence counsel but prayed the court to
order counsel to file formal application for bail.
According to him: "the only issue raised is whether the court will
entertain oral applications, I agree with the decision in Abiola versus FRN
cited by the learned Senior Advocate, that your lordship has the discretion
to decide whether to entertain oral applications, but it did not mandate
your lordship to entertain oral applications, especially as the proof of
evidence is 696 pages and the charges are 86."
He blamed the late arraignment of the accused on the case they instituted
challenging EFCC, adding, they had to wait for judgment to be given on the
matter before arraigning them before the court.
Ruling, Gumi directed counsel to submit a written application for bail,
noting that under section 341 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the
offences for which the accused persons are standing trial are bailable as it
is not punishable by death.
"Since the prosecution brought the accused persons for trial, one is safe
to assume that they have completed their investigations and the issue of
frustrating investigations does not arise," he added.
The accused persons are alleged to have between 1995 and 1998 obtained over
$242 million through false pretence and with the intent to defraud one
Nelson Sakaguchi and Stanton Development corporation, the property of Banco
Noroeste S. A. of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The said amount is alleged to be purported payment due to the Federal
Government of Nigeria on the alleged contract for the construction of the
Abuja International Airport, contrary to section 1 (1) and punishable under
section 1 (3) of the Advanced Fee fraud and other Related offences Decree
number 13 of 1995 as amended by Decree 62 of 1999.
6 FEB 2004
Five Nigerians charged in $242 million '419' fraud trial
Nigerian prosecutors leveled 86 counts of fraud and conspiracy
against five people Thursday for allegedly swindling a Brazilian
bank of $242 million, in the biggest crackdown yet on the West
African nation's advance-fee fraud or "419" scams.
The five are accused of luring an employee of Sao Paulo's Banco
Noroeste into siphoning off the funds from his employer, persuading
him he could land a share in a lucrative Nigerian construction contract
if he just paid enough handling fees up front.
The five appeared in court in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, in handcuffs
to hear the charges Thursday. All the suspects, including housewife
Amaka Anajemba, lawyer Obum Osakwe, and businessman Emmanuel
Nwude -- described by prosecutors as "a major shareholder" in a
leading Nigerian bank -- pleaded innocent.
Penalties for each of the counts range between seven and 10 years.
Four Nigerian companies -- Ocean Marketing, Fynbaz, Emrus, and
the African Shelter Bureau -- also accused of involvement in the
alleged crime were not represented in court.
Presiding Judge Lawal Gumi entered innocent pleas on behalf of
the companies and postponed proceedings until Wednesday,
when he will consider requests for bond.
There was mild drama in court when suspect Nzeribe Okoli, while
making his plea, declared he would make "shocking revelations"
during the trial.
"There are so many hidden things which Nigerians should know,"
Okoli said before he was interrupted by the judge, who told him to
restrict his answers to the questions he was asked.
Nigeria's anti-fraud body, the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, alleges in court papers the suspects told the Brazilian
bank worker he would receive $13.4 million from an $187 million
Nigerian airport contract -- if he invested money up front.
The bank worker allegedly dug illegally into his bank's funds,
transferring the $242 million -- in segments as high as $4.75
million at a time -- to accounts around the world designated
by the suspects, the papers showed.
Nigeria has gained global notoriety as a base for such advance-fee
fraud, known as '419' schemes after the section of the country's criminal
code that prohibits fraud.
In most of the cases, scam artists proposition victims with e-mails
claiming to have millions of dollars from inflated contracts, the estates
of dead dictators, or other illicit proceeds, and seeking help to transfer
the money abroad.
The victims are then made to pay never-ending "service fees" and
other charges -- the object of the scams.
Nuhu Ribadu, who heads the commission set up by President
Olusegun Obasanjo's government in December 2002 to combat
sophisticated fraud and money-laundering rings, told a news
conference on Wednesday he intended to use this case to
prove that "no one is above the law."
The case was also the subject of criminal investigations in
Switzerland, Britain, the United States and Brazil, Ribadu said.
5 FEB 2004
From the Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Trial in biggest advance fee fraud case begins todayFrom Levi Anyikwa, Abuja
TODAY marks a milestone in the nation's war against corruption as
suspects in the single largest case of Advance Fee Fraud (also known as
419) are to be arraigned in court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which made the
disclosure yesterday, said that the suspects would be brought before the
Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Lawal Gumi.
Named in the alleged heist put at N36.3 billion ($242 million) is a
director with one of the nation's biggest financial institutions, Union
Bank, Chief Emmanuel Nwude.
According to the EFCC chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, the other suspects are
Chief Emmanuel Offule, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba, Mr. Obum Osakwe and Nzeribe
They were alleged to have defrauded a bank in Brazil of the sum,
claiming to be handling the construction of the Abuja International
Airport. Two of the suspects are lawyers whom Ribadu said were used by
the other suspects to bribe investigators.
The alleged fraud has been traced to the United Kingdom, Switzerland,
Brazil and the United States.
Ribadu said: "This is the most important cause we intend to signpost the
new direction the commission is taking with respect to the prosecution
of advance fee fraud and other economic crimes. This case is very
important to us because we are convinced that the only way to fight 419
to a standstill is to also deal with those who aid and abet 419ers."
The commission's chairman said that with the trial, the EFCC was
"specifically targeting those who in league with 419ers seek to
compromise public officers with a view to frustrating the equitable
dispensation of justice."
Ribadu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and a lawyer said: "I want
to acknowledge that some of these people are colleagues (lawyers), but
they have engaged in acts totally at variance with the oath they swore
when they were called to the Bar. Justice must therefore take its
course. There is nothing personal."
Until this case, he said, the norm was to prosecute principal suspects
in fraud cases and other economic crimes.
Ribadu noted that the EFCC had striven to prosecute those who abet
criminal activities, along with the people who actually commit the
He said that the commitment, "apart from the staggering sum involved and
the truly global network of fraudulent individuals who took part in the
heist, it is one of the distinguishing features of the Nwude/Anajemba
and others' trial."
Sounding a note of warning to others, he said: "Anyone who plays a role
in the frustration of the system of justice or benefits from the
proceeds of such evidently criminal activity, is as liable as the
principal criminal. That is the new position of EFCC. No one is above
He observed that fraudsters were taking notice of the EFCC and were
giving up their nefarious activities. "My advice to those still engaged
in this dishonest and criminal activity is simple: "Desist from 419.
Otherwise, EFCC will get you, anywhere, anytime."
He restated the determination of the government to tackle corruption,
adding: "But no matter what little mark we have made or would make, it
is important to underscore that we are all responsible for what happens
in our society and fighting economic and financial crime is what we must
all collectively do, everyone of us, every single day of our lives. This
is an urgent call to national service and we cannot fail Nigeria."
The Commission, led by Ribadu, had arrested Nwude and two other
suspected 419 kingpins namely: Lagos lawyer and socialite Frederick
Ajudua and Ade Elumile, aka Ade Bendel.
When the EFCC team swooped on Nwude, alias Tossman, upon the execution
of a Search Warrant at his Osborne Road, Ikoyi premises in Lagos, items
reportedly recovered included: three guns, including one double barrel
and one Pump Action gun, three packets of cartridges, 17 company seals,
various Bank Documents, BMW 5 series, Acura legend, CL 500 Mercedes
Benz, Jaguar Vander Plas, BMW 7 series, Mercedez Benz E 230, Porsche
Boxster,Toyota Landcruiser V8.
Five suspects were also arrested in connection with the alleged scam.
The suspects, who were arrested in Enugu after the execution of Bench
Warrant include: Obum Ossake, Ifeoma Josephine, Emeka Eze, O"yeaka
Ikeanyiewe and Dr. Obed Ukeg.
Five vehicles were also recovered with registration numbers as follows:
Rolls Royce AR 788LSR, Jaguar Car CE 902 LND, Toyota Hiace AP 788 SMAK,
Peugeot 406 AP 596 BWR, Bora Volkwagen AU 507 APP.
Ajudua was said to have defrauded Dutch citizens of a sum of
$1.698.338.00 between July 1999 and September 2000 while operating a
syndicate of international fraudsters. The victims, according to the
investigation, were contacted sometime in May, 1999 by the fraudsters
who falsely sought to pay the sum of $36 million to Mr.Cima, being the
proceeds of over-invoiced contracts from the Federal Ministry of
Cima fell for this scam and ended up paying $1.69 million with his
partner to Ajudua in various instalments.ln the course of the crime,
Cima met with Ajudua, who allegedly claimed to be Dr. Isa Audu, the
Auditor General of Nigeria, three times in London between June 22, 1999
and February 2000. The various meetings took place at the Tower Bridge
Hotel, Thirstle Hotel and Hilton Hotel, all in London
Luckily, the suspect was covertly filmed by a BBC reporter while on
another mission during which he called himself Mr. Morgan, at Tower
Bridge Hotel, London.
This tape, according reports, was shown all over Europe on a BBC
programme "Mclntire Under Cover" which was watched by Cima in the
It was then he realised that he was being conned and he reported to the
Dutch police. In view of the transactional dimension of the case, the
following sister agencies are currently involved in the investigation:
National Fraud and Money Laundering Unit of INTERPOL, Netherlands; The
Fraud Squad, City of London Police and, the United States Secret
Service, New York.
For Ade Bendel, he has been in and out of detention several times. The
suspect who has been arrested several times for various 419 scams, has
been in jail since last year.
On December 24, 2003, he was re- arrested having allegedly refused to
comply with the gentleman agreement he reached with the Anti -Fraud
unit, Milvertion, where he agreed to refund the money he allegedly duped
his victims. He is currently in the EFCC detention camp to answer
charges as to how he allegedly defrauded an Egyptian Army Major Gen.
Abdel AlIi of $300,000.00.
2 FEB 2004
From the Mirror, an English newspaper:
LET'S BE 'AVIN YOU
Copper falls for a £5,000 scam
By Gary Jones
A SCOTLAND Yard policeman has been fleeced of £5,000
in a scam by fraudsters promising him millions.
The unnamed officer, in his 20s, was only saved from handing
over another £25,000 by colleagues investigating the con.
He had been told by a Nigerian fraud gang he would get a
share of £7million worth of gold bullion which would be freed
by customs once fees had been paid.
But the gold was non-existent. Last night one Yard detective
said he was astounded the officer was taken in.
He added: "It beggars belief. On our website there's a warning
about this type of crime, which is known as West African or 419
advance fee fraud. This con is just one of dozens.
"You've got to be very naive to fall for something like this. As
the website says, 'If it sounds too good to be true, then it is'.
"It comes to something when you've got to stop one of your
own from handing over a substantial sum to fraudsters."
Scotland Yard said: "The Met fraud squad is investigating a
classic example of West African fraud. An allegation has been
made by a police officer. There are no arrests."
Detectives claim Nigerian government officials are involved
with the gangs.
1 FEB 2004
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:
Dutch Police Nab 52 Nigerians
From Iyefu Adoba in Abuja with agency reports
Barely a week after Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala announced in Davos, Switzerland that
the Federal Government would clamp down on internet
fraudsters, the Dutch police in Amsterdam have arrested
52 people suspected of defrauding people of millions
of US dollars through the internet.
According to agency reports, a task force team comprising
of 80 officers raided apartments in 23 locations in the Netherlands
capital swooping down on men mostly suspected to be Nigerians.
Iweala speaking in Switzerland during the World Economic
Forum had said that a global advertising campaign would
soon be launched by the Federal Government to warn
potential victims of con men who rip people off via
e-mails in get-rich -quick scams.
Also known as advance fee fraud or 419, fraudsters usually
send e-mails to victims by presenting themselves as well
connected men who need to transfer money that cannot be
spent in their countries and lure them with promises of huge
commissions if they assist them in transferring the money.
419 Coalition Comment: Successive Nigerian Governments
must be Deaf, they just Never, Never learn. Here we have
this gent Mr. Iweala, saying that Nigeria is planning on
running yet Another of the expensive and largely useless
advertising campaigns to educate people away from
419 (really, they are more done as a CYA measure for the
Nigerian Government to point to when they try to say that
they are "doing something" against 419). Of course, other
Governments and public service organizations are perfectly
capable of taking measures to educate people away from
419 At No Cost to the Nigerian Government. But what they
CANNOT do is take substantive, tangible, quantifiable,
sustained measures against the 419ers operating with
relative impunity from within Nigeria's borders. Only
Nigeria can do that. Therefore, THAT is where the
Government of Nigeria should put its counter-419 money
and effort -- Not in yet another expensive, ephemeral,
and largely useless if past campaigns are any measure
to judge by -- PR campaign. We, and others like us, have
made this clear to successive Nigerian Governments over
and over again. But they just keep on "doing" the same
pointless things while 419 gets worse and worse.....
28 JAN 2004
52 419 Arrests in Amsterdam
From De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper. In Dutch,
English translation following:
Ruim 50 arrestaties wegens e-mailfraude
AMSTERDAM - De Amsterdamse politie heeft maandag en dinsdag bij
invallen in Amsterdam Zuidoost 52 personen gearresteerd die worden
verdacht van betrokkenheid bij wereldwijde fraude. Dat heeft een
woordvoerder van de politie van Amsterdam woensdag laten weten.
De verdachten zouden over de hele wereld talloze mensen via e-mail grote
sommen geld in het vooruitzicht hebben gesteld. Uiteindelijk worden de
deelnemers opgelicht voor grote bedragen die tot in de miljoenen euro's
oplopen. Deze vorm van oplichting heet ook wel de Nigeriaanse fraude,
vernoemd naar de herkomst van de verdachten.
Bij Nigeriaanse fraude worden slachtoffers met een mooi verhaal benaderd
via internet. De afzender van de e-mail doet zich vervolgens voor als een
hooggeplaatst persoon of als een familielid van de geadresseerde. In het
verhaal krijgt het slachtoffer een percentage in het vooruitzicht gesteld
van zeer grote sommen geld, soms wel 20 miljoen dollar. Hiervoor moet
het slachtoffer bijvoorbeeld op een specifieke plek geld ophalen en naar
de opdrachtgever brengen. Talloze mensen zijn zo overgehaald om geld
Volgens de woordvoerder van de politie komen de slachtoffers vooral uit
landen als Japan en de Verenigde Staten. "In deze landen hebben wij via
televisie-uitzendingen herhaaldelijk gewaarschuwd voor dergelijke
Uit het politieonderzoek bleek dat de verdachten via internet vanaf
verschillende computers soms meer dan 100.000 e-mails verstuurden. Aan de
hand van deze e-mails konden de locaties van de verzenders worden
Bij de inval zijn 23 woningen doorzocht en heeft de politie 50.000 euro in
losgeld, computerapparatuur en valse of vervalste reisdocumenten in beslag
genomen. De politie sluit meer arrestaties niet uit.
English summary/translation provided by our friends
Ultrascan Advanced Investigations in Holland:
52 arrests Amsterdam
AMSTERDAM - The police in Amsterdam has monday and tuesday arrested
52 persons who are suspected of being involved with e-mail and worldwide
fraud.That is what the press release of the police of Amsterdam says on
The suspects supposed to have promised victims large sums of money via e-
mail. In the end victims were defrauded for large sums of money which could
end up in to millions of euro's.
This type of fraud is also known as the Nigerian fraud, named after the
origin of the suspects.
According the press release of the amsterdam police most victims come from
countries like Japan and the United States "in these countries we have warned
for these practices more then once via television broadcasts"
The police could find the locations of the suspects through the 100 thousands
of e-mails sent, sometimes from one computer.
During raids of 23 houses, 50,000 euros cash, computers, and falsified travel
documents were impounded. More arrests could follow.
27 JAN 2004
From the Daily Times, a Nigerian newspaper:
419: Internet, GSM operators now to register with EFCC
By ABIODUN OBIMUYIWA, Abuja
THE Federal Government on Wednesday further moved against advance
fee fraudsters (a.k.a. 419) as it approved sterner measures in a new bill
seeking to amend the existing act on the offence.
At its weekly meeting in Abuja on Wednesday presided over by Vice-
President Atiku Abubakar, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the
bill seeking an amendment to the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud
Related Offences Act of 1995 to accommodate electronic telecommunications
The bill, which is to be sent to the National Assembly for passage, would
compel all Internet service providers (ISPs) and Global System for Mobile
Telecommunications (GSM) operators to register with the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for proper monitoring and supervision.
Minister of Communications, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, accompanied
by his Water Resources counterpart, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, told State
House Correspondents after the meeting that varying prison terms with
options of fine awaited all errant cyber cafe and GSM operators and
users in the country.
Apart from registration, Adebayo disclosed that each ISP and GSM operator
would maintain a register of all fixed line customers which shall be made
available for inspection by any authorised officer of the commission.
Besides service providers and GSM operators, customers and subscribers,
who falsified or declined to give full identities, including addresses,
to the providers would be liable to, at least, one year imprisonment or
a fine of N100,000.
Similarly, service providers and GSM operators, who failed to comply
with the provision demanding the particulars of the subscribers would
also be liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 and forfeiture of the
equipment or facility used in providing the service.
The bill, the minister said, also stipulates five years imprisonment
without an option of fine for any provider of wire or electronic communication
service, who failed to register or co-operate with EFCC with returns on the
use of his facilities and that in the case of a continuing offence, to a
fine of N50,000 for each day the offence persists....[article goes on to
cover unrelated subjects]
419 Coalition: What about NITEL, the Government phone parastatal?
Have these rules Ever been applied to them? If not, why not? NITEL
has NEVER been able to meet the requirements set out above for
the provate operators. We think the proposed new rules are Great,
but they need to apply to NITEL too. Any company -- like NITEL --
that can't trace its own lines and which doesn't even know who is
paying the phone bills due it, certainly needs to be forced to do
these things, or else......
27 JAN 2004
We were asked by a Concerned Nigerian to post this,
and since we think that EFCC has - unlike its predecessors -
actually made some progress on combating 419 in Nigeria
we decided to go ahead and do so:
Petition to Save EFCC (Please Sign and Pass Around the Internet)
Sign online at:
Nigerian’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was formed about a
year ago, under the leadership of one Nuhu Ribabu.
Although, the agency is yet to secure any successful legal prosecution, it has
made remarkable success in the number of arrests of corrupt Nigerian
government officials, and continues it’s efforts by showing an aggressive
willingness to prosecute corrupt persons in court.
A few months ago, the Nigerian government announced a new committee
(Cybercrime Committee), to further look into the Cybercrime issue. Our sources
tell us, that the new committee, is poised to recommend that EFCC be relived of
all 419 investigative authority, and be replaced with a new Central Authority.
A) Granted, EFCC has not been totally effective against 419, it has been the
most effective to date with the number of arrests and cases in court.
B) We hear from our sources, that Nuhu Ribadu, may be touching political
nerves by publicly disclosing that some governors have ill gained wealth
stashed overseas. There is political pressure underway to render Nuhu
Ridadu, and his agency useless.
C) Can Nigeria really afford another white elephant project?
The creation of a new agency will cost millions. EFCC is currently undertaking
the development of a financial intelligence system; the technical and
organizational resources will be similar to those of Cyber crime investigations.
There will be resource duplication.
D) Why has the President created EFCC, only now to want to render it useless?
You can forward this petition to Transparency International at:
Please sign this petition online at:
27 JAN 2004
From the Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
419: How tripartite ring dupes Nigerians through mails
Stories by Sunny Aragba-Akpore
A tripartite ring whose interest includes ripping open international
letters to and from Nigeria, faking of cheques with intention to dupe
unsuspecting Nigerians is now very active.
The ring involves both local and foreign post men from various
postal administrations, foreign bank officials who let out information
about accounts owners, and releasing specimen signatures and
details of bank transactions to members of the ring and local
accomplices who do the "finishing" in what is now commonly
known as the Nigerian scam or 419 or advance fee fraud after
the relevant portion in the penal code.
Take for instance this encounter: A middle aged woman somewhere
around Ejigbo, a Lagos suburb received a letter purportedly written
from her relation in London, England through the post office.
The letter was delivered by a postman less than 24 hours after it
arrived. She read the letter, smiled at the content. Her relation had
sent a very mouth watering sum in hard currency cheque. She is to
see a certain Mr. X at a location in Egbeda, another Lagos suburb
to collect the cheque after presenting to the cheque bearer an
equivalent of £750.
She danced and danced for her life was now going to improve
very significantly. She raised the equivalent and dashed to the
address in Egbeda. Behold, she found the "cheque bearer,"
handed over to him the £750 equivalent and collected a cheque
for £4,000 to be cashed at a local bank in Lagos with
correspondence in London.
The following morning, the lady in emblematic dressing with an
escort got to the bank, posted the cheque and after several hours
was told by very polite bank officials that the cheque was a fake.
She collapsed in a heap.
When she received, she told herself she knew what to do. She
headed for her lawyer's chambers to register her complaints and
asked for redress.
She went to court suing the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) for
delivering the letter that caused her misfortune and heartache. She
could not locate the man who gave her the fake cheque for he had
moved out of that hotel location without a forwarding address.
The case between her and NIPOST lingered. She could not even
identify the young man who delivered the contentious letter, despite
an identification parade in court.
In frustration, the woman resigned to fate.
But the woman's case was a tip of the iceberg compared to the
ordeal of Shamsideen Akanni Arogundade.
Through alleged connivance of postmen in Shomolu Post Office,
Arogundade has not been duped of equivalent of £700, but has also
lost virtually every dime of his savings at Lloyds Bank, London.
Arogundade had receive a certain letter from his younger brother,
A.G. Arogundade saying a certain Dr. Francis Ugheh was returning
to Nigeria with a £3,500 cheque for him, the elder Arogundade. He,
elder Arogundade should give to Dr. Ugheh, an equivalent of £700
and collect the £3,500 cheque from the man's location somewhere
Elder Arogundade raised the £700 equivalent, dashed with his frail
legs to Egbeda, found Dr. Ugheh, collected the Barclays Bank,
Fenchurch Street, London branch for £3,500 dated October 3, 2002.
On presentation of the cheque at the local correspondence bank,
polite bank officials told Arogundade again that the cheque
was a fake.
The scammers were not through with him yet. They forged his
signature and withdrew several thousands of pounds he had
saved at Lloyds TSB bank in the U.K. while on the staff of British
Railways Corporation in England.
Despite his protests to the bank that at no time did he authorise
such cheques to be paid, more so since the bank had dishonoured
two earlier cheques issued by him, on the ground that his savings
account did not allow for cheques to be cashed, he took the case
to the Ombudsman in England, besides writing a petition to the
NIPOST alleging connivance of its postmen at Shomolu Post Office.
Arogundade also alleged that the bank had also paid out money
from his account on the ground that he had authorised such payments
via telephone. This, he again, denied saying, he never at any time
called the bank.
Arogundade is now crying foul and asking for justice from his
bank in England and NIPOST.
The financial Ombudsman service in London, England wrote to
Arogundade on December 8, 2003 that it had not allocated his case
to one of its adjudicators for further assessment. Angela Warren,
team administrator, signed the letter.
NIPOST officials said having looked through the petition written by
Mr. Arogundade by its investigation unit, it found that its postmen
were not guilty as alleged.
In a four-page investigation report made available to The Guardian,
NIPOST not only exonerates its staff with a reprimand, but also denied
that the organisation was not to blame for the various fraud allegations
levelled against the organisation.
NIPOST's Assistant Chief Investigation Officer, Lagos Mainland
District, Mr. V. A. Adekannbi signed the report which he presented
to The Guardian at the weekend in the presence of Territorial
Public Relations Officer, Isiaka Elayo and a member of the
investigation team, Mrs. Ovie.
20 JAN 2004
From gamji.com, a Nigeria-oriented website, comes an excellent
short paper on 419 and the Internet:
Paper: "Nigerian Internet 419 on the Loose" by Femi Oyesanya (gamji.com)
Here is the link for as long as it is good.
18 JAN 2004
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Nigerians running lucrative swindles;
Trail leads to man in North Versailles
By Torsten Ove
A small game of deceit played out two weeks ago in North
On Jan. 2, a United Parcel Service deliveryman showed
up at a Della Drive apartment with a package addressed
to Ken Smith.
A man answered the door and signed for the parcel, which
contained more than $200,000 worth of cashier's checks.
But nothing was as it seemed.
The UPS man was really a U.S. postal inspector.
Ken Smith was really a Nigerian named Adebayo B. Adedimila.
And the cashier's checks? Counterfeit.
Adedimila, 28, was taken into custody and faces charges
in federal court of trying to defraud 20 people in an Internet
auction scheme that is increasingly popular among endlessly
The con is a version of the old "Nigerian 419" scam, named
for Section 419 of the Nigerian penal code.
"That's their latest trick," said Jeff Eisenbeiser, head of the
U.S. Secret Service in Pittsburgh.
Adedimila's arrest represents a tiny victory in the battle against
Nigerian rip-off artists who have been preying on Americans
for 20 years.
The schemes started in the early 1980s with letters and faxes
sent to businesses. But the Internet has opened up a world of
potential marks, leading to a flood of e-mail solicitations.
Among them are the familiar spam messages from West
Africans who have a "VERY URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL"
and need your help transferring millions of dollars from a secret
account in Africa to yours in America.
But it's the auction scheme that is proving more lucrative.
"This is 10 times larger than that," said U.S. Postal Inspector
Andrew Richards, head of the Financial Crimes Task Force of
Southwestern Pennsylvania. "Instead of going for $60 million,
they're going for $6,000. They're going for smaller amounts
and they are being incredibly successful."
Typically, a Nigerian will contact a person trying to sell
something on Internet auction sites such as eBay.
He tells the seller that he has a "friend" in the United States
who owes him money. He says the friend will send the seller a
cashier's check, but the check will be for a few thousand dollars
more than the item costs.
The check is then shipped to the cohort in the United States --
this was Adedimila's role, federal agents say -- who sends it to
the unsuspecting seller through the U.S. mail.
Finally, the buyer asks the seller to send back the extra money
by Western Union wire. Some do, and never see their money again.
"Often, the sellers act as requested and wire the additional funds
prior to the cashier's check being returned as counterfeit to the
seller's bank," said Postal Inspector Joseph Bell in a search
warrant affidavit for Adedimila's apartment. "This scheme has
affected thousands of victims across the United States and
resulted in the loss of millions of dollars."
Some potential victims are smart enough not to be taken.
Two men in Michigan and Georgia were potential marks for
Adedimila and his partner in Lagos, Nigeria, who sometimes
used the name David Nelson online.
Chris Odom, a photographer from Athens, Ga., was contacted
by Nelson last month when he was trying to sell a Nikon camera
for $3,750 on a professional sports photography auction site.
Nelson initially bid $4,000.
But later he sent this note, written in the kind of halting English
that agents say scammers use to make themselves seem authentic:
"Hello Chris, I must tell you that payment will be in excess of $8,000.
I have contacted a friend of mine owing me in USA to make the payment
on my behalf to you. I have also instructed him to issue out the check for
the amount of $8,000 on your name. After you might have received the
check from my client you will need to deduct the cost (of the camera)
and have my balance sent to me through Western Union money transfer
to London, England, and through my personal assistance name. Reason
is because I'm presently out of town for a professional conference in
South Africa. David Nelson."
Odom thought the request was bizarre.
"I had a suspicion it was some sort of scam," he said last week.
"If you are serious, you do not need to send a money order to me
for $8,000," he wrote back. "The [camera] is for $4,000 and that is
well enough with shipping and insurance."
William Corne III, 19, of Saginaw, Mich., didn't fall for the scheme,
either. He was selling a subwoofer on eBay for $170, but Nelson
wanted to send him $5,000.
"I thought it was ridiculously strange," he said.
Nelson sent the cashier's checks anyway, and did the same for
20 others he had contacted in the U.S. and Canada.
Agents say that's typical, because while most potential marks
won't wire back any money, one or two might.
"It's definitely a volume business," Eisenbeiser said.
It works in part because the cashier's checks look so good.
"I've seen them. I defy you to tell they are not real," said
Barbara Petito, spokeswoman for the state attorney
But Nelson apparently didn't count on "Operation Tidalwave,"
an international crackdown on Nigerian fraud.
On Dec. 23, British customs agents at London's Heathrow
Airport intercepted a package of checks originating from Lagos
and bound for Ken Smith in North Versailles.
Inspectors found $226,000 worth of phony cashier's checks in the
names of Odom, Corne and 18 others. Postal inspectors set up
a delivery in which one of them would pose as a deliveryman.
That's what happened Jan. 2, when Adedimila was arrested.
The U.S. attorney's office asked that he be detained as a
flight risk, but a federal magistrate released him to stay with
a Nigerian friend in Turtle Creek. No one there could be
reached for comment.
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she couldn't comment
on whether investigators had arrested or were seeking Nelson
or anyone else working with Adedimila.
But she said the case would be among several local prosecutions
highlighted next month when her office and the Financial Crimes
Task Force conducts an awareness program on 419 schemes
and other cons.
"We plan to educate the public about these," she said. "We are
going to focus on international fraud schemes."
Those include more traditional 419s, such as the spam messages
flooding in-boxes worldwide.
The sender often claims to be an "official" or perhaps the son of
some deposed leader who was murdered, imprisoned or killed
in a terrible plane crash. He's the only one who knows millions
of dollars were hidden away just before the tragic death. But the
funds will remain frozen until they can be secretly transferred
to a private account -- yours.
If you help, you're supposed to get a cut of the total. But as you
get drawn in, you are eventually asked to help finance the transaction,
sometimes to the point of traveling to Nigeria or a neighboring country.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gets pitches like this every day,
including this one last week:
"I am contacting you because of my need to deal with persons
whom my family and I can lay trust and personal relationships on.
Since the murder of my father, I have been subjected to all
sorts of harassment and intimidation with lots of negative
reports emanating from the Government and the press about
my family. The present Government has also ensured that our
bank accounts are frozen and all assets seized. It is in view of
this that I seek your cooperation and assistance in the transfer
of the sum of Thirty Million United States Dollars (US
$30,000,000.00) being the very last hope for my family and I."
Lately these e-mails seem to be coming from other nations
besides Nigeria, such as Liberia, Sri Lanka and even China
and the United Kingdom.
Some are from copycats, but most are sent by Nigerians, either
in those countries or routed through someone there, according
"It's all Nigerian," said Charles Pascale of Harrisonburg, Va., head
of the 419 Coalition, a citizens group devoted to educating the public
about the schemes. "It's really a cottage industry in Nigeria. It might
be said that, after football, it's the national sport of Nigeria."
No one can say for sure why.
"The Nigerian government blames the growing problem on mass
unemployment, extended family systems, a get-rich-quick syndrome,
and, especially, the greed of foreigners," says a Secret Service
The Secret Service fields 450 complaints a day, but stopping
the scammers is difficult. Agents have arrested some 250 people
there in recent years, but the 419 Coalition says most of those
suspects were never punished because Nigerian authorities
Federal agencies have long identified specific versions of the
419. There's the bogus real estate deal, the crude oil for
below-market-prices deal, even the "bill-washing" scam in
which the mark travels to Nigeria, eyeballs a suitcase full
of cash and is talked into paying thousands for chemicals to
clean black powder off the bills.
The e-mails introducing these deals seem like obvious scams.
So why do people fall for them?
"Greed is a major reason," Buchanan said. "Second, people are
often more trusting than they should be. Particularly older people."
Many victims are too embarrassed to pursue a prosecution,
Buchanan said, but her office has received complaints. Some
victims have flown to Nigeria to try to collect, a very bad move. An
American was murdered in Lagos in 1995 pursuing a 419 payoff.
"There's a perception that no one is prone to this kind of thing,"
Eisenbeiser said. "But a large number of individuals are enticed
into believing they've been singled out to share in a windfall.
The victims run the gamut. The elderly. Businessmen. Doctors.
Lawyers. No one would think it could happen to them."
13 JAN 2004
From the Daily Graphic, a Ghanian newspaper:
$48.6m FRAUD BUSTED . 2 Nigerians picked up
By Michael Donkor
TWO Nigerians who attempted to dupe the Bank of
Ghana (BoG) of $48.6 million
have been arrested by the Commercial Crime Unit of
the Ghana Police Service.
They are Frank Eleazer Ahumibe, 41, and Innocent
Emeka Okoye, 36. The two
were picked up at a restaurant in Accra upon a
Other members believed to be connected to the plot
are said to be on the run
and are being tracked down by the police.The two
suspects were alleged to
have designed letterheads of the Bank of Ghana, with
information that "$45 million and $3,650,000 had
been transferred from two
banks abroad into an account at the International
Remittance Department of
Another letter which bore the watermark "original"
of the BoG and purported
to have been signed by the Deputy Governor confirmed
that the bank had
successfully taken delivery of the $45 million and
$3,650,000 from the Bank
of Simpanan Nasional, Kuala Lumpur branch, Malaysia
and the Central Bank of
Cote d' Ivoire and that the amount should be
released to the owner.
The Head of the Commercial Crime Unit of the CID,
Chief Superintendent Ken
Yeboah, said the police had information from the BoG
that some people had
designed letterheads of the bank and were using them
to perpetrate crime and
that one of them had been seen at an Internet cafe
In one instance, the suspects were alleged to have
written to a businessman
in Accra, informing him of the successful transfer
of his money from Zurich
as a result of his oil contract.They requested that
the businessman should
pay $7,310 daily for keeping the money at BoG on his
Following the complaint by the BoG, the police
started trailing the suspects
and later spotted them at a restaurant and arrested
them.They were escorted
to their house at Hydrofoam Estate, off the Spintex
Road and when Frank's
room was searched, some documents including fake
letterheads of the BOG with
inscriptions and the signature of the Deputy
Governor endorsed on them were
The two claimed they lived together in the same
house but the police found
nothing to prove that more than one person lived in
strongly believed that some of the documents may
have been passed on to
somebody while they were looking for the suspects.
are being conducted by the police into the matter.
8 JAN 2004
From the Daily Times, a Nigerian newspaper:
Gloria Abraham, granted bail, rearrested
A 35-year-old woman who was granted bail in the sum of N1 million
after pleading not guilty to a three-count criminal charge of conspiracy,
stealing and Advanced Fees Fraud was immediately re-arrested by
the police on Wednesday moment after she stepped out of the
Gloria Abraham who was charged for allegedly collecting the sum
of N2.3 million from Mrs. Ngozi Okoronkwo and two others on the
pretext that she had 836 bags of rice to supply them, a claim, the
police said, she was aware was untrue thus making her to have
committed an offence punishable under Section 419 of the Criminal
code Cap 32 Vol. 2 laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 1994.
The second charge stated that Gloria Abraham and others now
at large did fraudulently convert to their personal use the sum of
N2.3 million property of one Mrs. Ngozi Okoronkwo and two
others, an offence punishable under section 383 (2) of the
criminal code Cap 32 Vol. Laws of Lagos State.
The accused person pleaded not guilty and the presiding
Chief Magistrate Mrs. Ayo Odugbesan granted her bail in the
sum of N1 million with two sureties in like sum.
However, moments after stepping out of the court premises,
police officers who had laid ambush around the court premises
re-arrested her despite spirited efforts by her team of lawyers
to prevent her from being re-arrested.
One of the police officers who spoke with the DAILY TIMES on
the condition of anonymity said the accused person was re-arrested
so that she could be tried for other offences.
The police officer said Abraham had over 100 petitions written
against her by aggrieved traders who alleged that she had
duped them of their money on the pretext that she was going
to sell rice to them.
The case was adjourned till February 18.
1 JAN 2004
Here is a reprint of an item posted in our 12 DEC 2000
news. Central Bank of Nigeria, amidst much fanfare,
announced going on three years ago that they had
recovered the Ghasemi's 419ed monies. However,
the Ghasemis have yet to receive their recovered
monies from the Central Bank of Nigeria as of this date,
though the US State Department has written CBN that
the funds can be repatriated by CBN at any time:
Anatomy of a case - this is a mix of Will Scam 419 and
Black Currency 419. The victims in this case are seeking
contacts with other victims. We received it 28 NOV 2000
and sent it onwards immediately to appropriate government
agencies but have been holding it from public release until
now to give time for investigators to work. A slightly edited
version ( for security and investigative purposes ) of their
case report is below in their own words:
From: Kennedy Walk- In Clinic
3308 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa FL, 33609
Phone Number- (813) 874-2400
To Whom It May Concern:
Hello, my name is Shahla Ghasemi and my husband is Dr. Ali-Reza
Ghasemi, we are American citizens who live in Tampa, Florida. Our telephone
number for your convenience is (813) 874-2400 and (813) 832-4515, our address
is above. This is what had happened to us and how we got involved in the
Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud. About 3 months ago, we got a phone call from
Nigeria by a man named Dr. Ali Abubabker -I don't believe that is his real
name--his phone number is 234-1-774-1703. He introduced himself to us as the
director of NNPC. He said that he had a confidential message for my husband,
but if we were to expose this message he could lose his job and his life. He
told us that he would receive a very big commission from this. The story that
he told us was that one foreign contractor from our country who died
transferred $27,400,000.00 to Dr. Ali Reza Ghasemi. We were very shocked.
After that, he faxed all the documents and attached all the needed documents.
We looked over everything and they all seemed real, all bore the government's
official seals and stamps. Then he faxed us a copy of our bank information,
which we filled out and faxed back to him. On August 14,2000 we received a
letter from the bank which stated that we needed to hire a power of attorney.
His name is F.A. Williams and his telephone is 234-1-774-0939. We contacted
Mr. Williams and he asked us to send him $7,250.00 for the court registration
fee through Western Union. We sent the money with a fee, which came out to be
$7,565.00. Attached is a copy of the receipt that we sent through Western
Union to Mr. Williams. After they had received the payment, Mr. Williams said
that everything was ready. Mr. Williams was at the bank and called us and
asked us for a copy of SEPA. We had no idea what that was, so we called Dr.
Abubaker who said that he didn't have the form and thought that maybe the
original contractor hadn't paid for it. They then asked us for $27,400.00 but
with a fee we paid nearly $30,000.00 through Western Union. After two days,
Mr. Williams had called and congratulated us. He said that our money had been
transferred and he faxed me a copy of the transaction, which stated that our
money had left the bank and was on its way into our account. In that same
week, Dr. Abubaker had faxed me his confirmation ticket saying that he was on
his way into America, and that we should send him money to buy his ticket.
The following day Mr. Williams called and said that our money had been
stopped because of a shorting tax that needed to be paid which hadn't been
paid. He faxed me an invoice for $63,250.00 bill for the tax. We transferred
this money through our bank to Prism Company at Nigeria. Two days later he
called and said that everything was fine. He said that we should be hearing
from our bank representative very soon. Two days later we received a call
from Carlos White from Atlanta, Georgia in America. He introduced himself as
a NCB Bank Representative with the phone number of 404-944-1842. He said that
our money was ready and that we needed to fly to Atlanta to transfer the
account into our account. We asked why and he said because the money was big
and he needed to transfer the money in front us. He told us to bring a copy
of our driver license,a copy of the contract, and $11,500 in cash. The same
evening my husband, daughter, and myself flew to Atlanta. We got a hotel
room. Then next day we called Mr. White to make an appointment with him at
our bank, First Union. He said that he had to send a bank representative to
our hotel room. When we got back, he sent two men by the names of Mustafa
Sharief and Agu Jbreh. They received all the documents and $11,500 in cash
and then they told us to wait for two hours at which time our money would be
transferred into our account. We waited for a few hours and kept calling them
and they had said that no transaction had occurred. So we decided to head
back to Tampa, while we were in line checking our bags and reserving our
tickets, we were contacted by Mr. White by our cell phone. We told him that
we were leaving and ready to go back to Tampa, He got very mad and said that
we couldn't go back because the transaction hadn't been closed yet and that
he still needed to talk to us. We went back to our hotel and we had to
reserve another room. We called Mr. White and he said that he would be
sending two people. After two hours, two people arrived by the names of
Mustafa Sharife and the other didn't give his name, but I do remember his
face. They came and told us that the government of Nigeria had approved our
payment to be physical cash. We asked them what that meant and they said that
it was real physical cash. Then they asked us to go to their car to see the
cash and get the cash or to wait and transfer the money into our bank
account. They said that the money couldn't get into our account until it had
been cleaned. We asked them what they meant and they went to the car and came
back with 5 pieces of black paper. Then they went into the bathroom sink and
with some chemicals cleaned the black paper and it turned out to be $100.00
bills. We told them that it was fine. They could clean the money and deposit
it into our account. Then Mr. Sharrif called Carols White and he said that we
had to pay for the chemicals, we asked how much they need and he said it was
$185,000. We told him if he could take the 185,000 from the money but he said
that he could not touch the original money. Then we decided to go back to
Tampa. From that night we decided to contact the Nigerian government and our
attorney Mr. Williams. I called Dr. Abubaker and I called Mr. Williams, they
acted normal and they didn't know what Mr. White had told me and then Mr.
Williams told me that he had to go and speak with the president of Nigeria in
Abuja and get his advice. Two days later, he called me and said that we had
no choice but to pay the money for the chemicals, but he said that we should
send him a copy of the receipt so that after the government received their
money from America and Japan in January or February they would reimburse my
money that we paid them for the chemicals. Mr. White was calling me and
asking me for money for the chemicals. Finally we wired $150,000 to them. Two
days later, Mr. White called me from Atlanta and asked for a Rolex watch for
the president of Nigeria so that he could basically smother the president and
get a better job in Nigeria in addition he wanted $350,000. The $350,000 was
for the purpose of opening an account for me for a CBN transit account. I
told him that he didn't tell us anything about this before, he told us after
he had cleaned the money. That same day I spoke to our consultant and told
him what happened to us and he said that we had been involved in a scam. He
showed us the many different stories and example on the Internet of this scam
and the many different victims that it had happened to. We found many
different numbers to call for help including the Nigerian police. Sir/Mam,
we really need your help. We lost almost $400,000 on this matter. We are just
a middle class family, my husband is a physician and I am a nurse. We
borrowed money from many different places to pay to these people. Now
we lost our credit and everything else. We beg for you to help us to arrest
these people and get our money back. Please feel free to contact us at
our phone number for any further information.
[ Paragraph edited out ]
[ Paragraph edited out ]
I called my bank and I asked them for a refund, my bank requested a
refund through the Bank of New York. I got the number for the Bank of New
York and asked them where did they send my money.
The representative said that they had sent the money to Lagos in Nigeria and
Beirut in Lebanon, I asked for the phone number of the banks but they said
that they didn't have it. They said that they had a representative at Nigeria
who works for the Bank of New York. He is at Lagos and his name is Mr. Shay
(phone number 234-1-2693327). The bank said that they sent the money to him
and he sent it to the Bank of Omega (phone number is 234-1-2620851). I called
to the Omega Bank Director, Mrs. Odunsi. I explained the situation and I
faxed a letter of complaint. She said they got the money from the Bank of New
She then said the money was sent to the Atlantic Precision LTD (phone number
is 234-1-2640120). The manager is Mr. Ikye, Eugwu. I spoke with Mr. Eugwu and
I requested for a refund, I am yet waiting for his action towards this
On November 2, 2000, I contacted with Mr. Ikye,
Eugwen (director of Atlantic Precision LDT concerning when he was going to
refund my money. He said that he couldn't refund the money because he paid
the money to Mr. Bashiru, Ibrahim (phone numbers are 234-1-775-3112,
234-1-493-3445, and 234-1-804-3445). I said "Mr. Eugwn I sent my money from
America to the Atlantic Precision LTD and it is your responsibility to
collect my money from whoever received it." He then said "I am not a
collector and don't call me anymore," after that he hung up. After that
incident I called Mr. Bashrim and I explained what Mr. Eugwn had told me from
the Atlantic Precision LTD, he said that he had received the money and would
not be refunding it. I asked who he is and did you give anything in replace
of my money, he said that it is their business; this is the way we live. I
told him that I am going to call the police at Nigeria and I am going to send
a letter to the Nigerian President. He said that he didn't care and used an
excessive amount of profanity towards the President and the police. Then he
proceeded on by saying that this is another way of income besides the oil
that is coming into the country. He said that the President and the
government knows about this. He also proceeded on by using curses and also by
threatening. Now I believe that not only are Dr. Ali Abubaker, Mr. F.A.
Williams, Mr. Carlos White (real name Ojbe, Onokaite and phone number in
America is 404-944-1842) but also Mr. Bashiru and Atlantic Precision LTD are
also included in this scam. I have also found the number for the director of
CBN from the Internet. His name is Mr. Joseph Sanusi (phone number
234-1-266-0100) to tell him about how the people are using the CBN's name
improperly. I decided to call him and one person who answered his phone
proceeded on to tell me to call him at his private number
(011-234-1-775-4327). I called him and told him my contract number and he
said that everything was fine with my contract. He also asked me to fax the
document to his attention at 44-870-134-9987. I asked him where this is and
he said it is at London. It was then where I found out that this is another
scammer. I hope that Mr. Joseph Sanusi can read this and find out who is
really working for him and answering his calls. In conclusion, I would just
like to point out that these scammers have created a horrible name for
Nigeria. The people wont trust anyone from that country and yes there are
some wonderful and innocent people out there whom our money should go to,
but not to these 419ers [ remark edited slightly ]
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