An airport is a pretty big place when you think about it, isn’t it? Whether they have one or multiple terminals, the run-way alone is a sort of giveaway.

And not to mention them huge things with wings that make an almighty noise and fly into the sky – they can’t really be missed.

So, ask yourself this – how the actual fuck did Emmanuel Nwude get away with selling one that didn’t exist. No, not a plane – an entire airport.

And not for some throwaway amount of money that someone would have chanced being done over. Oh no, this was $242 million (£188m).

Now, we’ve all heard about, or been the victim of, internet fraud and it’s a phenomenon in Nigeria, according to Naija.

So that would explain why, before it even became an issue, Nwude managed to pull off this ridiculous scam.

It happened between 1995 and 1998 and the victim was an unsuspecting Brazilian, Nelson Sakaguchi, who was director of a bank.

First of all, Nwude himself was in a pretty prominent position, he was director of Union Bank of Nigeria and that made him privy to some links, information and documentation that others wouldn’t have.

He informed Mr Sakaguchi of Nigeria’s plan to build an airport in Abuja, and explained that he stood a chance of cashing in on $10m (£7m) commission when the deal was passed.

Would too good to be true be your first thought? Not Mr Sakaguchi – he decided to pay a measly $191m (£148m) in cash – like you do. And the rest came in the form of outstanding interest.

In 2004 Nwude’s fraud case was investigated and all the members of his gang were arraigned before an Abuja High Court on 86 counts of ‘fraudulently seeking advance fees’ and 15 counts of bribery related to the case.

According to Naija, the group pleaded not guilty and were warned not to bribe court officials. Like they would do that.

As you probably guess, they all listened. Oh wait, did they balls – Nwude attempted to bribe Nuhu Ribadu, the then chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), with $75,000 (£58,000) cash but he refused and Nwude was charged with attempted bribery as well as attempt to kidnap a prosecuting witness. What a way to stitch yourself up a bit more.

Nwude finally pleaded guilty – he didn’t really have a leg to stand on by this point and he was sentenced to five concurrent sentences of five years and was also asked to pay a $10m (£7.7m) fine – ouch.

Bet he won’t be trying that one again. He was released from prison in 2006 and filed a case to reclaim his assets including some which were acquired before the criminality began.

He has so far been able to reclaim $167m (£130m).

Rebecca Shepherd / ladbible.com

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Nigerians in South Africa
Nigerians in South Africa 8108 posts

We are about democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.

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