Sunday, 5 September 2010

Barking up the Wrong Tree - Part One

Olusegun Aganga
I have been known to get things wrong, occasionally picking up the wrong end of the stick. I always apologise, especially if it is an actual stick and I've accidentally bitten my master's fingers. So when I read today on the BBC news that Olusegun Aganga, Nigeria's finance minister, has predicted their country's economy will grow by 10% this year, I thought to myself what an audacious scam. Normally I just get an email from a Nigerian official asking me to send my bank details to him so he can wire me an inheritance of millions of dollars. Now they're on the national news, appearing all legitimate, saying, "Come invest in my country, we're doing really well." But is it true?

My first thought was perhaps the Nigerian scammers have stepped up their game. If they had the finance minister in their pocket, they could reach governments and large financial institutions to achieve a huge payout. Then I thought, if the scammers have been so successful, then maybe the Nigerian economy is booming as they spend their ill gotten gains. Maybe we 'should' invest heavily in that country. Who cares if it's an economy based on fraud and deceit? Think of the profit.

Which is what they want you to think: the hook that it might be true. Luckily, I'm a dog and have no bank account. Until they start sending me emails promising me pounds of Bonios I'll continue to delete them. But is there a lesson to be learned?

If more British people sent out scam emails about lottery wins and inheritances to suckers in other countries then that would bring more money into the country to boost our economy. The other countries wouldn't be expecting it. Maybe Cameron and Clegg should persuade Vince Cable to launch a scam initiative to get more foreigners investing in Britain. He could go on Nigerian news saying Britain's economy is going to grow by 12% this year and they should invest all their money in us. Might work. What's he got to lose?