I usually don't comment on such things on this blog but the story of African scammers arrested in Russia on suspicion of scamming is hard to ignore. The internet is a momentous innovation and like many useful things, it has downsides: scamming is one of them. Anyone who owns an email address has probably received an email designed to defraud. Nowadays it's easy for fraudsters to pretend to be who they're not and to plan and execute fraudulent schemes soliciting money in the name of individuals or corporations. All this can be done online with the click of a mouse. The story of Africans arrested in Russia on allegations of scamming puts this into perspective.
According to Russian International News Agency (RIA Novosti), nine citizens of Cameroon and Nigeria resident in Russia have been detained in Russia on suspicion of using the names of Russian state-owned companies to swindle at least 900 million rubles ($28.8 million) from hundreds of firms in the European Union, United States and Southeast Asia. Russian law enforcement agencies reportedly believe that the actions of the West Africans involved in the scam damaged Russia's international trade relations.
The actions of the suspects also damage the reputation of Russia and more importantly - the reputation of their countries of origin - Cameroon and Nigeria. Such fraudulent actions could go a long way to hurt the developing economies of the two West African nations by scaring aware foreign entrepreneurs who want to do genuine business.
As an Africans and Cameroonian, this is embarrassing news but it should not be swept under the rug. I have no illusion that every African or Cameroonian or Nigerian agrees with me. There're those who think that such stories about the continent should not be highlighted by fellow Africans. Some argue that we should not air our dirty linen in public.
However, we can't sweep embarrassing stories under the rug and hope that they'll somehow go away. In order to redress a problem, it must be discussed. It's time we start having open, sincere discussions about the rogue actions of a few people and how such actions adversely affect us all. We must [publicly] condemn scamming thereby sending a clear message to scammers or prospective scammers that extortion is unacceptable. ourselves from such actions and seize every opportunity to highlight the fact that groups of people such not be judged by the actions of a few.
The suspects arrested in Russia reportedly face up to 10 years in prison and fines if found guilty.
I welcome the arrests. The culprits should bear the full weight of the law if found guilty. The governments of Cameroon and Nigeria should see this as an opportunity to take a tough stand against scamming.
Their actions are theirs alone and should not be used against innocent people from the region.
I wish to warn family, friends and the public about scams and fraudulent schemes offering or soliciting money in my name. Anyone contacted purportedly by me or on my behalf in this regard should thoroughly verify theauthenticityof the message. The best way to do so is to contact me directly via this blog.
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Born and raised in a middle class family with strong Christian values in Cameroon, Central Africa, I learned quickly that all natural persons are born free and equal in rights. I graduated from the University of Buea with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree, and received a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in International Human Rights Law and International Labour Rights from Lund University, Sweden. My passion is in promoting human rights and the rule of law. I'm a married proud daddy of two.