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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Nigerian Fraudsters Scammed Kuwaitis Of US$1Million Using Abacha’s Name

The Kuwaitis was lured into a shady deal with fraudsters from Nigerian who used Sani Abacha as bait. 

Three Nigerians, claiming affiliation to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, swindled US$1.375million (N204 million) out of two Kuwaiti businessmen, UK court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES have shown.
The multimillion naira fraud, which occurred between August 2001 and March 2002, also involved the now defunct City Express Bank although the presiding judge, Justice Treacy, largely found the bank innocent of “dishonest assistance.” In his ruling, Mr. Treacy noted that there was nothing to show that the bank had prior knowledge of the impending scam. 

The players
 In May 2001, Qumar Bello, acting on behalf of Abdulkadir Abacha, alleged to be the brother of the late general, contacted Adnan Abou-Rahmah, a Kuwaiti lawyer, seeking his assistance to invest US$65million in an Arab country. Mr. Abou-Rahmah flew out to the Republic of Benin, where the money, allegedly belonging to the Abacha family trust, was stashed; and by August, a formal agreement had been entered by both parties. In the agreement, as a reward for Mr. Abou-Rahmah’s assistance in investing the US$65million in Kuwait’s “very buoyant” real estate, 40 percent of the trust money as well as 15 percent of the income produced would accrue to the Kuwaiti lawyer and his client, Khalid Al-Fulaij and Sons General Trading and Contracting company. While in Benin, Mr. Abou-Rahmah also met with ‘bankers’, ‘ministers’ as well as a host of ‘public officials’, dissolving any prior suspicion of foul play. 

The bait 
After agreeing on the sharing formula with the Kuwaiti; the trio of Mr. Bello, Mr. Abacha, and a third colleague, Aboubakar Mohammed Maiga, claimed that a series of bureaucratic obstacles involving various payments had to be made before the trust capital could be transferred out of the country. But the fraudsters agreed to clear the payment, only soliciting a “contribution” from Mr. Abou-Rahmah. In August, 2001, the first part of Mr. Abou-Rahmah’s “contributions” – US$100,000 in cash wired to the fraudsters – as part of a US$450,000 they claimed had to be paid to the Ministry of Finance in Benin to secure authorisation of the trust capital. Two months later, the Kuwaiti lawyer wired another US$450,000, part of a fee allegedly to be paid to the Benin Drug Enforcement Agency to obtain a drugs certificate needed for the release of the money. Again, on the 9th of January, 2002, Mr. Abou-Rahmah wired US$400,000 to the fraudsters. Another US$225,000 was paid one month later. Both monies, alleged to be VAT payable on the trust capital, were paid into City Express Bank’s HSBC bank account in Poultry, London. The funds were to be held for Trust International, the name of the client Mr. Abacha instructed the Kuwaiti lawyer to pay the money. The bank subsequently transferred the naira equivalent sums of the money to its client’s account at Apapa, Lagos. However, the actual name of the client was Trusty International while its principals were Yusuf Ibrahim and Nasir Saminu. The duo cleared the money as soon as it reached it the account. The US$65million never materialised. The fraudsters vanished.

Premium Times

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