Prospective Businessman Unearth Huge Scam Sullying Cameroon’s Image

It all started as a genuine business deal, with a prospective Cameroonian buyer by name Nde Jean Pierre of Societe Ledford Cam (fake name) claimed to be located at the Carrefour Ndokoti, opposite the Tradex Filling Station Douala, inquiring and receiving not less than seven free samples of Men’s leather shoes from an Indian manufacturer in the month of November 2017 to show as sample to interested buyers in Cameroon.

These free samples were sent to Cameroon by UPS Air courier (tracking No: 1ZR8E2200450389539) and picked up by one Dim Uwa (probable the same Nde Jean Pierre) on Thursday November 2. According to Richard A. Wright, owner of the AAACORP International  (an export/import agency in Trinidad and Tobago) Nde Jean Pierre requested and received an invoice from the Indian manufacturer amounting to US$ 267,710 (148,310,000 FCFA) for the purchase of 13 300 pairs of  shoes. This was later followed by a e-mail reconfirmation letter on November 14, 2017 indicating the bank coordinates from Financiere D’Epargne & Credit Bank Cameroon (fake bank) situated at the Boulevard du President Ahmadou Ahidjo-Douala-Littoral Region with a swift bank code “AFDBCMC1”

The e-mail also stated that “This email communication is for the purpose of reconfirmation of your bank coordinates prior to the payment transfer ordered by our esteemed client in your favor as we have received the proforma invoice # 001 dated 09TH  Nov. 2017  amounting to the sums of  USD: 267,710.00  say; (…)  as advance payment via swift to your firm as submitted by our esteemed client (STE LEDFORD CAM)”

It continues to add that “Consequently, our client's account have been debited the above invoiced sums for wire transfer toward your account and in view of the fact that this is the first transaction between your client and via our bank we request you to reconfirm your bank details to ensure no wrong transfer by filling the attached form and return with the invoice copy for confirmation as we have also submitted the transfer declarations to the Foreign Transfer control for all conformity endorsement upon which once we receive the filled form from you and go- ahead order from the appropriate department that all has conformed then transfer shall be finalized with the swift message issued to your firm without delay” and was purportedly signed by one Ngassi Motale , Controller/Foreign Remittance of FINEC-Douala.

This scam took a different turn when AAACORP International  Indian Associate received a request this time from  the Cameroonian authorities for the payment of the refundable 1%  (that is 1, 483 000 FCFA) of the invoiced value of the goods known as a Bond Deposit fee so that a 5 year renewable Conformity Certificate may be issued to the exporter. This request according to the exchanges we secured was issued by the “Cameroon Banking And Regulatory Authority (Commission Bancaire De Cameroon/ Cameroon Banking & Regulatory Authority Financial Services Regulation / Control Department Place de l'independence, B.P: 1917 Yaounde Tel: (237) 223 40 60
Fax: (237) 223 82 16 Republic of Cameroun Couriel : [email protected] dated 15/11/2017  (It should be noted Cameroon does not have national Banking and Regulatory Authority, but functions under the Commission Bancaire de l'Afrique Centrale (COBAC) that plays the role of regulatory authority under the Bank of Central African States – BEAC)

The 1% refundable deposit according to the e-mail is “evidence of business transparency clearance against all financial related crimes that’ s why the sender/beneficiary are required to do the bond deposition for the endorsement clearance as it cannot be deducted from the transfer payment at the buyer bank and cannot also be deposited by the buyer side only but it has to be deposited by the two sides in business for transparency clearance”

This was followed by some forms to be filled and returned to the authority for clearance . AAACORP International then decided to check  with the TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO High Commission in NIGERIA, where it turn out  courtesy the High Commission of CAMEROON, that there is no Commission Bancaire De Cameroon/ Cameroon Banking & Regulatory Authority, causing the India Associate not to  remit the 1% of the Invoiced Value of the Shoes.​

Following this report and with the intention for those in place to rid Cameroon of such fraudster sullying the image of the country, a copy of this report has been forwarded to the Anti Corruption Unit and the Cyber Crime Unit of the police.

We strongly advice that any prospective investor or business person wishing to do business in Cameroon should always take time to verify from some local authorities, or national agencies before proceeding to transfer money. Below are some useful links that can help potential investors and businessmen both national and internationals.  COBAC website  COBAC website  Prime Minister’s website  service for the creation of small and Medium sized enterprise ministry of Commerce Cameroon ministry of Regional and Economic Planning Small and Medium Sized Agency Ministry of Finance  ministry of Finance, directorate of budget Ministry of Finance, Custom Department Ministry of Finance, Directorate of Taxation information on doing business in Cameroon National Police

By Abongwa Fozo

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