Fraud victim advocacy, fraud recoginition and prevention education, and law enforcement support

fraud recognition & prevention education, fraud victim advocacy, law enforcement support

Fraud recognition & prevention education, fraud victim advocacy, law enforcement support

                    

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My Fateful Journey to Nigeria

By

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Khan

drikhan34@yahoo.com

 

It was just a matter of chance that I had to travel to that distant land. I observed there scenes similar to the legacy of the colonial rulers; the haves and have-nots.

 

The colonial masters favoured a certain segment of the community which accepted their way of living and civilization. I was hurt to find two distinct classes of society-one class living in posh villas with all worldly comforts and the others living in low-roofed smoky huts, just earning that much as to keep them alive. 

 

I had been to Abuja, the magnificent present-day capital, and compared it to the over-populated old capital [Lagos] badly lacking in civic amenities. In Lagos, there was shortage of potable water, frequent failure of electric power supply and bad roads. No protection from mafias. Citizens could not afford three square meals in a day due to high prices of foodstuff.

 

I observed that Nigeria is heading hastily on the road to get westernized, irrespective of the economic condition of the populace. This imbalance in the distribution of wealth had led to frustration and all other ills in the society. There was a vivid picture of that to be seen everywhere. I wish and pray that the higher-ups take notice of the sufferings of the down-trodden of the society and try their best to improve their condition.

 

My compliments go to the Muslim Community that hosted me during my stay in Ikeja and took good care of me. I just felt at home with them and enjoyed their hospitality that will be remembered forever. Their respect and affection for a Muslim brother was supreme.

__________________

 

The story begins with a pleasant idea of partnership with a Nigerian Muslim who wrote a letter to me on December 24, 1995 , asking me to participate in a joint venture to be established in Pakistan with a capital of US$ 30.5 Million.

 

He wrote, ”I am Malam Sheikh Ahmed, Deputy Chief Accountant in NNPC [Nigerian National Petroleum Company]. I along with my Chief Accountant have decided to resign from civil service and start business in Pakistan . We request in the name of Allah and Muslim Brotherhood to help us to transfer an amount of US$ 30.5 Million in your bank account. We have got every instrument to get this transaction completed within 48 hours. We plan to come to Pakistan to establish a joint venture in your country. Your share will be 30%; we will own 60% and the rest 10% will be set aside for ancillary expenses . . .

 

If you agree with our proposal, please send your bank particulars. Please keep this strictly confidential. All correspondence shall be by fax. The fax number is 234-1-821757

Signed

Sheikh Ahmed

 

I had a little knowledge about Nigeria and the people. As a Muslim I answered their call for help being unaware of their real intentions. I accepted their proposal in Good Faith.

 

A fax message was received on 24-2-1996 , thanking me for accepting their proposal and I was asked to send US$ 10.000 (Ten Thousand US dollars) to cover the expenses of Telegraphic Transfer, Auditors’ Fees and Attorney’s Fee. I was given a foreign-based bank account number for this payment.

I was asked to fax the copy of the remittance advice to fax # 234-1-4924212 and advised to use only the same number in future. They wrote,

 

You being the beneficiary of this fund have to pay such charges levies and fees as you will be called upon to remit to various off-shore accounts. Rest assured that you would be compensated later. We do not want to raise suspicion by paying from here.

Signed

Sheikh Ahmed

24-2-96

 

After that he sent fax messages for certain payments from time to time. He had marvelous convincing power and the urgency for those payments so meticulously fabricated that there seemed not a grain of doubt. That evil genius extorted US$51,381.00 through bank remittances.

 

He asked me to reach London for further deliberations on this issue. I waited for him from 25 April to 29 April 1996 . He did not turn up. Again he used his extraordinarily convincing power by putting forward lot of excuses that satisfied me for his failure to join me in London.

 

On 14-3-1998 he asked me to send five fancy wrist watches: two for ladies and 3 for gents to be offered to the staff of the then Governor, CBN Chief Paul Ogwuma, for helping release the fund Here is where the criminal made a big mistake.  He provided his wife's address for the dispatch of those watches.  That address helped me track him down in Ikeja-Lagos, and discover his real name - Gerald Kanu.

 

After a period of silence he sent an e-mail, in June 2000 to proceed to London as he had made a very secure arrangement for this payment.

I reached London on 6 July, 2000 and waited for him up to 1 August, 2000 . He did not turn up.

 

MY DECISION TO GO TO NIGERIA

 

When the scammer lost contact with me for quite some time, and there was no response to my calls and email messages, I got suspicious and visited the Director General (Africa) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs located in Islamabad.

 

After hearing my story, he advised me to visit Abuja and forward a petition through our High-Commission.

 

On June 25th, 2001, I traveled to Abuja and submitted my petition to the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, requesting him to forward it to the Nigerian authorities and Special Fraud Unit in Abuja.  In turn, he advised me to go see the scammer in an effort to reach an amicable agreement.  He stated that he would only file the petition with Nigerian authorities if the scammer and I failed to reach an agreement.

 

MY ORDEAL IN NIGERIA

 

When I visited the house (by following the address Given to me for the dispatch of watches through courier) of Mr. Gerald, his wife came down out of the flat and out of the main gate to find out who I was and where I came from.

 

She admitting that she was the wife of Mr. Gerald Kanu, and after I told her who I am, she ran back to her flat and told her husband to flee.   Then she came back down to the taxi-cab where I was waiting and threatened to have me eliminated [assassinated] if I did not leave Nigeria immediately.

 

I was a sick old man.  I made the trip to Nigerian against medical advice in hopes of recovering my money for the last days of my life.  I was directed by my High Commissioner at Abuja to go to see that criminal for an amicable agreement, without any police protection, and that proved to be a hazardous undertaking.

 

Having been threatened with assassination and warned to leave Nigerian immediately, I could not contact my High Commissioner and had to run for my life.  I took the threat very seriously.

 

Some God-fearing Nigerian Muslims gave me refuge and escorted me safely to the airport for my departure to Pakistan.  The stress involved in trying to regain my losses aggravated my illness, which in turn ran up further expenses that cut into my retirement fund.

 

 

Bank Remittances with transfer charges, Communication (Phone, Fax, Internet charges), Gifts, Two Voyages to London along with related travel expenses: (Boarding, lodging and transport).
Travel to Nigeria and related expenses plus the robbed amount- all added together come to US$ 150,000.oo.

My complaint was lodged with SFU-ABUJA, through High Commission of Pakistan, on June 29, 2001. It was addressed to CSP Sotonye LeRoy Wakama. No update has been made available to me, directly or through my embassy, as the officer lost contact with me after September 21, 2001.
I believe this was  a case where one individual had fed the police with the information that, hitherto, never had been done in the past. The police might have hand-picked the culprit. In spite of my advanced age and failing health, I traveled to Nigeria and tracked down the 419'er, personally, to his accommodations and business addresses in Ikeja-Lagos.

Without any doubt this complaint should attract the attention of the Nigeria Police. Whatever is in their power to ensure that I play within the Nigeria Legal System concerning this fraud?

DR. MUHAMMAD IQBAL KHAN
81-Grand Trunk Road, Shahdara, Lahore, PAKISTAN.

 

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