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    Wednesday, December 30, 2015

    How Guineans Swindled Me Of N23m -Nigerian Businessman

    To Onuzulike Godsown Odilichukwu, it still appears like a dream. He went blindly into a deal with some fellows purporting to be businessmen in Guinea who told him they dealt in gold.
     This young man had stumbled on this big time ‘gold dealer’ on the Internet, and later travelled to Guinea to confirm that the beautiful profile he had read online about the dealer was true. According to him, when he got there, he was convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that he was in for a big and real business. He was showed real gold and he saw what looked like a full-fledged company established for the business. The proposal was attractive; his joy was full.
     But soon, his eyes were opened. His excitement turned sour and he began to regret. He then blamed himself for not looking very well before he leaped.
     It all started on December 18, 2013. Odilichukwu said that was when the sales and purchase agreement between Mr. Abdoul Mohammed Bah, representing Kouroussa Community Development, Conakry, Guinea and himself, Onuzulike Godsown Odilichukwu, representing Friends of Gods FMPCS Limited, Enugu Nigeria was reached. Mr. Bah allegedly agreed to send three kilograms of 22-plus carat gold to Odilichukwu represented by his agent, Osinachi Ogbuechi.
     The Guinean, Daily Sun gathered, asked Odilichukwu to make an upfront payment of 26, 000 dollars into his account at International Commercial Bank Agency deTaouyah, with account number 0401117005, for one kilogram of gold. The seller was said to have assured his customer that the goods would leave Conakry immediately the additional 2,000 dollars as running cost was paid. Without any suspicion of foul play, Odilichukwu happily complied and paid the said money. Bah promised he would deliver the goods to Ogbuechi in South Africa within 48 hours. Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the Nigerian’s sad journey.

     Odilichukwu said he became even more comfortable when along the line, Bal introduced one Bendou Alpha also known as Okafor Azu Ndukwe into the picture. Seeing a fellow Nigerian and tribesman involved in the deal, he went to bed with both eyes closed. But he soon realized that all was not well with the business deal.
     The goods, which Bah claimed was posted through Skynet Post Courier, Guinea, was said to have been intercepted by Customs at Kenya International Airport because it lacked a certificate of non-criminal origin. Odilichukwu said Bah therefore requested more money from him to clear the mess so that the goods could be released.

     “I was able to entrust another 9, 000 dollars to him, which I paid through bank transfer. He demanded another 9, 000 dollars for the clearing of the goods when it got to its destination. I was able to give him 7, 000 dollars through a staff in Skynet Shipping Company named, Alie Alusine Kamara. Other money he collected from me in one way or the other was 48,750. 00 dollars,” he recalled.
     But the 48 hours that Bah gave to deliver the goods crawled into weeks and weeks snowballed into months. Yet, no gold was delivered. While waiting for the goods to be delivered, Odilichukwu said he developed an inevitable fever and nightmare. He became a watchman over his mobile telephone, earnestly waiting for that singular call of cheering news about his allegedly seized carat gold. Painfully and devastatingly for him, he never received such expected news till date.

     Odilichukwu’s trouble is aggravated by the fact that he didn’t venture into the blind business alone. In fact, the larger part of the money committed to the fruitless transaction was provided by his friend and business partner, Ifeanyi Ozor Matins. The deal, this correspondent learnt, has caused a friction between the two friends. He said Ozor had understandably blamed him for dragging him into a business he didn’t carry out a thorough feasibility study on.
     Since it dawned on Odilichukwu and his friend that they might have been duped, he said he had employed every possible means to recover their money but all to no avail. While running around, to arrest and prosecute Bal and his associates, he lamented that he had spent approximately extra 37, 000 dollars, making a total of 85, 750 dollars.
     He had, on April 9, 2014, petitioned the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Investigation, Force CID, Abuja, drawing the attention of the Commissioner of Police, INTERPOL, to use his good offices to bring Bah to book and ensure he pays his money.

     He lamented that Bah’s conduct had greatly affected his financial status and had plunged him into huge debts, leaving him to now live from hand to mouth.
     In response to Odilichukwu’s letter to the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), dated September 14, 2015, a letter signed by the Speaker of the Parliament, Ike Ekweremadu, said the issues raised by Odilichukwu were criminal in nature, explaining that they were outside the mandate of the parliament. He, however, advised him to pursue the matter with the relevant law enforcement agencies of the country concerned.
     Meanwhile, Odilichukwu is not satisfied with the way the Guinean law enforcement agents are handling the matter. The distressed young man has accused the Guinean police authorities and other concerned agencies of compromise. According to him, they are shielding an international fraudster from facing the music.

     The letter to the ECOWAS Parliament by Maxwell Opara and Associates, on behalf of Odilichukwu, dated May 5, 2015, reads in part: “Odilichukwu became victim when one Bal with passport number 127835 and one Azu Ndukwe Okafor (a Nigerian resident in Conakry) jointly and severally defrauded him of a whooping total sum of 48, 750 USD. The suspects lured our client and deceived him into believing they were gold merchants and accordingly, a deal was struck.
     “Our client sought the intervention of the Nigeria Interpol and other law enforcement agents, that of Guinea and the Nigeria Embassy. Though, the suspects were arrested in Guinea, they were quick to lure the law enforcement agents there and the judicial system to compromise on the matter. The criminals were left to escape from justice. We are deeply shocked at the lukewarm attitude and indifference of the Guinea authorities.”

     In the same vein, Micahel NNaekpe and Co wrote the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, dated June 26, 2014, soliciting on behalf of Odilichukwu for justice to prevail in the matter. They pleaded with the ministry not to allow the matter to be swept under the carpet in Guinea.
     The letter, copied to the Inspector General of Police and others, partly reads:  “Unfortunately, however, the Guinea suspects were all released, leaving only their Nigerian counterparts, including Ndukwe Okafor in custody. Against the backdrop of the foregoing, we humbly urge your Ministry to ensure that our client obtains justice.
     “To direct the Nigerian embassy in Conakry to offer more assistance to our client, with a view to ensuring that all the suspects in the matter are diligently prosecuted in court regardless of their nationality.

     “To request from the government of Guinea, the extradition to Nigeria of Mr. Ndukwe Okafor and other Nigerians fingered by INTERPOL as chief suspects in the crime, so that they can be tried in a Nigerian court.”
     During a chat with Daily Sun, Odilichukwu promised to make himself available anywhere, any day to offer any further needed evidence to substantiate his claims.
     “All l need is for my swindlers to get arrested and made to pay my money. Most of the transactions were made are back up by documents and pay slips. They have not and cannot deny it,” he said.
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