The Ultimate Nigerian Scam Letter
In April, the Lagos, Nigeria-based Seven Energy International Ltd, an indigenous integrated energy concern, announced it had secured US$255 million of new equity capital, some US$150 million of it coming from Temasek, the Singapore sovereign fund. The rest was funded by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, US$75 million, and the IFC African, Latin American, and Caribbean Fund has committed US$30 million.
Temasek’s record of overseas investment can only be described as spotty at best and often ill-considered at worst, with major losses on overseas operations. That has caused an anonymous satirist to come up with the following, which may be the ne plus ultra of Nigerian scam letters.
Agabi and Associates. Solicitors and Advocates for Six Energy. 5th floor, Kelong House. Lagos.
To the Honorable Madam Ho
Re: Strictly Confidential and Urgent Business Opportunity.
Dear Madam Ho (wife of glorious Prime Minster of the fully Democratic Republic of Singapore, the Honorable Mr PM LEE)
I am the representative of the Nigerian energy company ‘Six Energy’. In Nigeria we have long admired you as a market guru seemingly able to seize every and any opportunity to make money. We are mesmeric by the incredible track record of the company, Temasek Holdings, which effortlessly has made annualized returns of 16% since inception.
Even when your countrymen discovered that you had made elementary mistakes during the financial crisis of 2008 this did not end of your career as in a lesser fund manager. Truly your esteem is such that the Government of your country, headed by your illustrious husband, had sufficient faith in your abilities, to confirm his appointment of you as CEO.
Please permit me to make your acquaintance in so informal a manner. This is necessitated by my urgent need to reach a dependable and trust wordy foreign partner. I am in a position to uplift your esteem even higher and present Temasek Holdings with an unbeatable business offer.
You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet of various huge sums of money invested in our company by such elite organizations as the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group of companies (see link).
We know you are not a charity despite the fact that Singaporeans sometimes may be forgiven for thinking you are, even if most of your charity work benefits foreigners. We know that Temasek’s principal aim is to make money for its shareholder, the Government of Singapore. We agree with you that this money would be wasted on Singaporeans who are a weak and whining lot, unappreciative of all that you, your husband and your father-in-law, may he live forever, have done for them. We know that without his guiding genius your esteemed country would just be another disgusting mangrove swamp, like much of our coastline after the Western oil companies started pumping oil.
We therefore humbly beseech you for a small investment, nothing too big for an esteemed and magnificent company of your stature cannot handle. S$200 million should be suffice for now though we may kindly call upon your esteemedness for further and larger amounts in the future. This money will be part of a total fundraising of over S$300 million in new equity capital (alas we do not know where the money we raised before has gone!) and will be invested with most care and utmost diligence in development of our growing portfolio of energy assets in Nigeria.
You may be concerned that all the other participants in our fundraising are there with charitable objectives, to reduce poverty and create prosperity in Africa. You may be worried that the International Finance Corporation, which will be a junior partner in the investment, is principally concerned with ending extreme poverty and creating shared prosperity rather than making money for its shareholder. This may suggest to you that investing in Six Energy would not meet the investment criteria of Temasek Holdings. Don’t worry this just means that there will be more money for you.
Madam Ho, you may ask yourself why your exaltedness should be investing your country’s citizens’ precious money in a Nigerian energy company when the only other investor is a multilateral institution who is not there to make money. After all your countrymen and women may ask what you know about Nigeria or about investment in Africa. They may be concerned at the risk that those evil rascals and thorough bad fellows, Boko Haram, are getting stronger on a daily basis and that our army appears powerless to stop them.
Tell these ungrateful wretches to be no concerned. Kidnapping a few schoolgirls and bombing our capital is much different from attacking a well protected first class company like ours. In case you have trouble with your investment committee, we have prepared many sets of cashflow statements to show you the huge IRRs that your investment will be sure to earn. Just do not ask us to pay you any dividends. Or if we do pay you a dividend please be advised that instantaneously you must invest that back into new shares. We know that this will not shock you as Temasek and your sister company GIC have used a similar scam to avoid paying any money to their shareholder for years.
We know your immense appetite for foolhardiness and high risk which has been demonstrated by your decision to double down on your investment in another company, Olam, which has extensive interests in Nigeria. In such case we truly can appreciate the immense generosity and kindness of your benevolent leadership towards the management and shareholders of that company which rescued them from bankruptcy without them having to lose any of the huge wealth and large properties they had accumulated. We also truly thank the good people of Singapore for going without basic health care or even free education so that others in our countries can be helped. In particular the recent generosity of their Government which put another $5 billion in surpluses extracted from your people into your esteemed organisation is to be highly commended. Even some of our Illustrious former Presidents, like Mr Abacha, clearly have a lot to learn.
Though we have neither seen nor met each other, the information we gathered from an associate who has worked in your country has encouraged and convinced us that with your sincere assistance, this transaction will be properly handled with modesty and honesty to a huge success within two weeks.
Please note that we have strong and reliable connections at the Central Bank Of Nigeria and other Government Parastatals and we hear that you have also banking secrecy in Singapore and do not engage in public disclosure of Temasek deal details, hence assistance in this regards, would not be a problem. Indeed Madam, you will be absolutely right when you say that this project is risk free and viable for you (although possibly not so good for your citizens). If you are capable and willing to assist, contact me at once via email with following details:
1.Your Full Name, Company’s Name, Address, Telephone and Fax Numbers. 2.Your Bank Name, Address. Telephone and Fax Number. 3.Your Bank Account Number and Beneficiary Name – You must be the signatory.
Rest assured that the modalities I have resolved to finalize the entire project guarantees our safety and the successful transfer of the funds.
Kindly contact me as soon as possible, whether or not you are interested in this deal, so that whereby you are not interested, it would give us more room to scout for another partner. But if you are interested, kindly contact me via above email, telephone or fax, so that we can swing into action, as time is not on our part.
I wait in anticipation of your fullest co-operation.
Yours Faithfully, Dan Agabe
P.S. Also this transaction demands absolute confidentiality which our associate in your country tells us is Temaask Holding’s strong point. We also understand that your husband’s government is also not strong on transparency. Nevertheless, on no condition must you disclose it to anybody irrespective of your relation with the person. In particular do not discuss this with that horrible fellow Vikram Nair who has spread bad words about Nigerian financial schemes in your country. Thank you and God Bless.
Best Regards, MR DAN AGABE.