Advance Fees Fraud (419)
The CBN Litigations
Henry Keller & Anor
CBN and Ors
Scam Letters/419 Cases Involving the Bank
The Plaintiffs, Henry Keller and his company H.K. Enterprises Inc. alleged that sometime in 1994 they entered into an agreement with some con men posing as officials of the CBN and Nigerian Government to provide access to their bank accounts in order to transfer the sum of $25.5 million dollar that was allegedly being held by the CBN as proceeds of an already completed inflated government contract. The funds were supposed to be transferred to Keller upon a spurious contract requesting Keller to supply medical equipment.
After arranging for a local escrow account in Ohio and receiving notice from several of the Defendants, including an individual who claimed to be Ogwuma, the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, that payment into the account had been approved, the money was not transferred into the account.
Instead, “Ogwuma” and the other Defendants demanded and received from Keller, payment of $12,750 for wire transfer and handling charges, and $16,200 as stamp duty fees and notarization fees.
It was finally agreed that Keller should travel to London, England to pick up the $25.5 million dollars personally. However, the courier whom Keller was supposed to meet did not show up. It was then that Keller realized that he had been scammed.
The Plaintiff sued the Defendants, CBN, Ogwuma, Rasheed and Sadiq (i.e. the Gov. Director, Foreign Operations Department & Director, Currency Operations) alleging fraud and conspiracy to defraud him of about $40,000 and over $14 million in lost profit which represented the medical equipment worth over $6.6 million dollars and licensing fee of about $7.65 million dollars.
The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case arguing that the Plaintiffs were involved in a ‘419’ scam with fictitious person. The Defendants also pleaded the doctrine of sovereign immunity, lack of jurisdiction and illegal contract on ground that the Plaintiffs entered into an agreement to defraud the Nigerian Government to the tune of USD $25.5 million dollars.
The court, in its judgment, granted the Defendants’ motion and dismissed the case.