I must share with you the good fortune that awaited me this morning in an e-mail my AARP spam filter inexplicably intercepted before it could reach me. Luckily for me, I don't trust spam filters, as they invariably deprive me of the most interesting correspondence-and in this case very nearly prevented me from becoming independently wealthy for the rest of my life.
The e-mail letter came from Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, who is nothing less than the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Nepad in Ghana. I think I understand what the "Minister of Foreign Affairs" job would involve, but the second half of his title, "Nepad," I can only imagine involves supervising the nation's industrial production of kneepads for professional athletes, and the spelling discrepancy reflects a garbled transmission (That Internet! Always so unpredictable!).
Anyway, my new friend Al describes himself as "the final signatory to any transfer or remittance of huge funds moving within banks both on the local and international levels in line to foreign contracts settlement." Whew! What a mouthful! Al is clearly a very, very important man in Ghana, a country which has apparently gone overnight from being a center for child labor abuse in the cocoa industry to Africa's economic and banking powerhouse.
Al's not one to brag, however, and his e-mail got right down to business: Two days ago he received a report from Ghana's Parliamentary Committee on Contract Payments/Foreign Debts regarding an unclaimed deposit in my name for "USD $7.9 million." Of course, I quickly pulled out my check book to remind myself just when I'd written that USD $7.9 million check to the Ghana Treasury and Reserve, and for the life of me I couldn't find it. However, I've just started a new check ledger, and it's very possible I penciled it into the old ledger and forgot to carry it over to the new one. In any case, I'm just going to chalk this up to being the equivalent of me finding USD Seventy Nine Cents under the cushions of my couch, only ten million times better.
There are some storm clouds on this silvery horizon, however: It appears that Ali fears some less scrupulous elements of the Ghana government are intent on keeping my USD $7.9 million-although they could admittedly use it to beef up airport security, since underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab managed to slip through Ghana on his circuitous journey to fizzling infamy over Detroit a couple of Christmases ago.
Luckily, Al has a plan: If I will send him my banking information, he will transfer my USD $7.9 million into my account by telegraphic transfer (TT) within seven working days, minus 55 percent for him and 10 percent for his expenses.
This sort of high-power currency wheeling and dealing is of course beyond me, but Al seems to have a handle on it. He did warn me "This deal must be kept secret forever," and "there should be no third parties, as most problems associated with your fund release are caused by your agents or representative." Isn't that the truth! My agents and representatives cause me nothing but trouble, let me tell you.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Wait a minute, Bill, were you born yesterday or something? In exchange for all your banking information, you truly expect Al has no intention of ripping you off?" And of course, you're right. I'm already giving Al 55 percent of my USD $7.9 million; in what universe does it cost him another 10 percent, USD $790,000, in "expenses" to transfer my money? Al could simply go over to his nearest Kroger's and send my money by Western Union for a tiny fraction of that. I have to admit, I think Al just might be taking me for a ride there.
But then again, I figure I'll still get more than $2.7 million out of the deal-and that's money I didn't have when I went to bed last night.
Although I guess I did have it before I sent all that money to Ghana in the first place.
What was I thinking?