Friday, May 04, 2007

Farewell and God bless

Nothing stays secret very long in today's world of instant communication. Certainly not when virtually everyone over 12 is carrying a wireless device -- cellphone, PDA, laptop computer.

So, when I decided a couple of weeks ago to make some changes in my personal life, I knew it wouldn't take long for the news to get around.

But to Hong Kong? Sierra Leone? Ghana, London and Iraq? Whew. This isn't just an information super highway; it's a transcontinental expressway.

How else to explain the sudden overflow of opportunities in my e-mail. Mind-boggling opportunities offering me enough money to last a couple of lifetimes, given my modest needs.

There was poor old Jain Hagis, thinking fondly of me even as he lies wracked with pain and facing his own demise. Hagis describes himself as a native of Oman living in London, England, where he's dying of esophogeal cancer.

He's trying to make up for a lifetime of meanness by giving away the millions he has accumulated in his business career and has chosen me to help him spend the final $18 million (after close family members ripped off the rest). For my troubles I get to keep $3.6 million.

But wait, there's more.

Aman, who called himself Mr. Baldwin (apparently he didn't trust me enough to put us on a first-name basis) is going to give me $1.5 million to help spirit his stash of $30 million out of Ghana. There's a little more risk attached to Baldwin's offer; right now I'm only on a short list of five potential partners.

Eribe Nku invoked a higher power in trying to persuade me to help him get $4.2 million out of Ivory Coast. No percentage was mentioned in his e-mail, but I had the comfort of knowing that it was written "with humility and the fear of the Lord."

Godwin Francis wrote from the U.K., where he has squirrelled away 35 million pounds sterling through managing the funds of overseas investors, and offers to share the money on a 60/40 ratio if I'll help him get the money out of England. (He did not make it clear who gets the lion's share, but hey, with his pounds worth $73 million Cdn, what do I care?)

Mariam Yamani from Sierra Leone has $8.5 million US she wants to split, the Shunshi Trading Company is offering $30,000 a year and 5% commission to accept transfers, Susab Shai Wing from Holland is trying to move $15 million and offering me 30%, Liao Wendan needs me to contact him immediately (and he'll fill me in on the details), Drake Aarriman is an attorney who needs to get his late client's $3.5 million out of Nigeria.

Those are just a few of the deals. I know what you're thinking: Why am I still here?

Truth is, I won't be much longer. Not after tomorrow, in fact. But don't worry. It's not that I've been dazzled by any of the generous offers.

By now, hopefully, there isn't a person on Earth who doesn't recognize these scams.

It must drive fraud cops crazy that people keep falling for them, but fall for them they must, or the offers wouldn't keep cropping up.

So there'll be no sudden wealth for me. Just an opportunity to ply my trade somewhere else.

It's not easy saying goodbye. Not after nearly seven years at the Sun.

I can't tell you how many columns, editorials and stories I have written in those years. Some found general agreement, others harsh criticism. Some, I hope, made you stop and think. Hopefully many informed you.

This one has the most simple message of them all: Goodbye and God bless all of you.

Link to ottawasun.com - Geoff Matthews - Farewell and God bless