This is the second installment in what will probably be a two-part chronicle of correspondence between me and “Mr. Cliff,” who purports to work at a Burkina Faso bank in which Rafic Hariri, the late Prime Minister of Lebanon, has a substantial unclaimed account. You can access the first installment by clicking this link or simply scrolling down (it’s the post right below this one). If you don’t feel like doing either of those things but still want to read this post, here’s a recap of the first installment: Mr. Cliff seemed to want pretty badly to get Mr. Hariri’s money out of his bank, seemingly because he wanted to keep it out of the hands of his country’s government, which will be taking the money within a year if it remains unclaimed. Mr. Cliff seemed to be under the impression that Mr. Hariri had no living relatives who would be eligible to claim the money and that therefore the only way to keep the money out of the Burkina Faso government’s clutches was to get it into his own clutches, with my involvement (I was promised that a cut of it would go into my clutches for my trouble). I did some deft Internet sleuthing and turned up a treasure trove of living relatives of Mr. Hariri’s. When we last left Mr. Cliff, I had just informed him of the existence of these potential legitimate claimants and pointed out to him that in view of this new information, he would not have to go through with his dubious plan. The first letter below is Mr. Cliff’s response to that news.
Dear brother in Islamic,
I am very glad to receive your mail, honestly my brother I am extramural great joy with the information I got from you in fact I don’t know how to celebrate it, I am axiology impress, my brother we are French country speaking we don’t know all these, we was only got information that our customer has died and ever since then we been receiving fake information that he died in plain crash along with his families, some times we got another information again that he died in car crash we just keep on receiving difference stories,
Our bank authority here doesn’t want to know the cause of his death, we was only acknowledge that he has died, and ever since then our bank authority was been waiting for his next of kin or his relation to come for the claim, and according to our bank payment code and the law guidance that any payment of claim which is not concluded for a period of seven years (7yrs) the total amount will be called back into the bank reserve account as unclaimed money and the beneficiary will automatically loose the money.
And as you can see it remaining only one (1 year) for this claim to end, it was the reason am fighting to see that this huge amount doesn’t go into the bank reserve account as unclaimed money, and it’s impossible for me to pull this money with out the cooperation of the foreign partner who will stand as the bona next of kin, an according to our bank roll state that the next of kin must come from foreign country. So my brother with this correct information you come up with and with the web site as well, honestly my brother if you apply to our bank for the claim with this correct information’s you gathered inshaa Allah before seven office bank working days this fund must surely release to you as the beneficially.
Then I will put retire to the bank service and come over to your country then we shall sit down and discourse on what to do precisely, if we decide to contact the relative of the great Mr. Rafik Hariri. Honestly my brother you impressed me with your wisdom, you must be a reliable wise man I wish to see you in my home soon. and I will like you to come over here my country for the claim then you can witness every thing, and see my family and as well know me more, as you can see this transaction is not only going to fetch us money but it will join both our families to gether as one.
So my brother when will you be coming so I will ready to welcome you? You are free to call me on my direct mobile line at any time for the success of this transaction.
My regard to your family.
Dear Mr. Cliff –
I had no idea that it was so difficult for people in French-speaking countries to obtain accurate news about major developments in other parts of the world, and I’m very sorry to hear it. Please let me know if you would like me to tell you the facts about any other major news story from the past few years. Not to denigrate my accomplishment of uncovering the facts of the death of Mr. Hariri, but it is very easy for people in my country to use the Internet to find such information. Who told you that Mr. Hariri and his family died in a crash?
I am a little confused about why you think you still need to fight to keep Mr. Hariri’s fund from going into the bank reserve account as unclaimed money now that you know where to find Mr. Hariri’s actual next of kin. Why not just notify Mr. Hariri’s relatives of the existence of the fund and let them claim it?
I would love to visit you in Burkina Faso, and I’m sure you have a charming family (they must all be very proud of you), but I already have plans for this year’s vacation time, so any Burkina Faso visit would have to take place next year at the earliest. I hope you can do without me as part of your family until then.
Dear brother Charles,
I thank you very much for your kind effort towards making this project success for me,
the first day I received your replied mail to my offer I was in my home and my wife was behind me and she saw your mail, yes you didn’t understand the content of my mail precisely but your explanation towards your mail, my wife approved you a trust wordy man, and ever since then you have been so nice to me as brother, honestly I have obtained the major parts information of Mr. Hariri from you.
Regard to your question, my brother as you can see I have spent a lot of money to obtain success at the end, I secured the Death Certificate from federal ministerial of health with a lot of money. If I notify Mr. Hariri’s relatives for the claim as you suggested honestly all my effort will be in vain, and I mighty loose my job here I suggest if I may notify them will be when the claim is done. This is because I am a staff of this bank for years now like as you know, the fact is that our bank authority here was very happy to have this fund in our bank reserve account as unclaimed bill, since no body has come for the claim ever since his death. it’s true that my country was very poor and little country but since our bank authority including our bank director him self doesn’t care to verify about Mr. Hariri’s death, for that reason above I personally don’t want such incident to happen,
My brother you see I am a poor salary earner due to maladministration of the government of my country after my many years in the service, I strongly believed that this transaction really comes from Allah to compensate my efforts in this country, however all arrangements to execute this transaction very successfully have been finalized, My brother all I need from you is to stand for me in our bank as the next of kin by applying to our bank for the claim to enable the action process commence immediately.
My brother I am not dreaming to eat what doesn’t belong to me actually but my aim is to eat from it because I have suffered and spent my money towards it, when the claim is done then I will take what belong to me by redoubt all our expenditure, then we can notify Mr. Hariri relative as you demanded and see what them can do. Because if I try to notify them now before the claim finalize honestly I must surely loose my job here in the bank and all my effort will be in vain.
My brother pray this dream comes to reality the inshaa Allah.
I am waiting to hear from you as soon as possible to enable me to proceed.
My regard to your family
Dear Mr. Cliff –
There are a few things I don’t understand about your predicament, and I was wondering if you could clear up these matters for me.
You seem to say you paid a lot of money for Mr. Hariri’s death certificate, which you obtained from the federal ministry of health. Which federal ministry of health did you get the certificate from, Lebanon’s or Burkina Faso’s?
What information is on the death certificate?
How much did you pay for the certificate?
Why did you have to pay for the certificate?
How do you intend to use the certificate?
How did you know Mr. Hariri had died?
Since your bank authority does not want to lose the fund, wouldn’t the bank authority be sure to thoroughly investigate any claim before turning the fund over to the claimant?
Couldn’t you notify Mr. Hariri’s relatives of the existence of the fund anonymously, thereby preserving your position at the bank?
Would Allah offer you a reward that you could not collect without acting dishonestly?
Please tell your wife hello for me.
Please I am sorry for my late respond it due to I was so busy in my office and when I get home yesterday there was no internet access to wrote you,
However I am in the receipt of your questions, my brother Mr. Hariri was a very friendly to the family of our late former president Thomas Sankara, and he has a lawyer then from Akadachambers/bf and our bank representative attorney is from the Same canopy of akadachambers, although Akadachambers is the one of the greatest chamber we have in our country here for justice. So we got the information from our bank attorney Hon. Barry Akim Dada of Akadachambers. And I couldn’t bear the shock of sad story,
Then I personally want to our former president home to confirmed it, and it was true that he has died but absolutely no one know exactly what was the caused but we all know that he died at the result of crash. My elderly sister was married to the family of our late former president, I tried to fined out exactly what lead to his death from my in-law and I was told another different story again, honestly I was just confused then. When I waited for his next of kin or relation to come for the claim and no body has come for the claim ever since then.
My position in the bank is the bill and Exchange manager and since it is remaining only one (1 year) for this claim to end and no body has come for the claim, then I decided to use my office seat position in Bank to claim this money through the Cooperation of a good foreign partner since I cannot come out openly for the claim. Then I traveled to Bobo our former capital to meet with my family lawyer to assist me since I can not come out openly for the claim, after four days he came to me and demanded for ($24,700) twenty four thousand seven hundred dollars for his trip to execute all the necessary document for the success of the claim, and he advised me to looked for a good foreign partner immediately to stand for me in the bank for the claim as the bona fide next kin. While you shall be feeding me back with all you correspondence with our bank for my guidance to avoid mistake,
Listen to me my brother if I don’t remit this fund out urgently before the bank audit of the year start, if the claim ends honestly this fund will just transfer into the bank reserve account as unclaimed fund and this fund has gone forever and there is nothing to do about it again, even if the government of Lebanese come into it, the fund has gone and it has gone. My brother let’s reason fine with our wisdom two head is better than one,” my brother you said Mr. Hariri has a son who happened to be the New Lebanese Prime Minister now, and Mr. PM Hariri died ever since 2005 feb 14th and we in the 2011 march, six good years interfere and no report from them, do you think it’s right to await for them before the claim? Or do you mean them know nothing about this fund?
I don’t hid my fillings I am a very strait person I suggest we proceed ahead for the claim with out wasting time again when this fund is on our position then we can decide on what to do, this is my word my brother please try to understand my motive. my brother I really want to speak with you please call me on my direct mobile line below or you can send me your phone number so I can call you as well.
Anxiously awaiting your early reply.
My regard to your family
Dear Mr. Cliff –
Thanks for answering some of my questions. If I understand you correctly, you heard that Mr. Hariri had died from your bank’s attorney, who heard about it from an attorney for your late president, who died in 1987 (I hope you’re not hearing it from me for the first time, but he was assassinated). You asked several members of your late president’s family for details of Mr. Hariri’s death, but since Burkina Faso is a French-speaking country, nobody was able to obtain accurate information and different members of the family gave you different accounts of Mr. Hariri’s death, and at least one of these stories was quite shocking.
Six years later, seeing that no one had claimed Mr. Hariri’s money, you decided to try to claim it yourself and to that end enlisted the services of your family attorney, who secured some documents, charged you $24,700, and advised you to find a foreign partner who would masquerade as a relative of Mr. Hariri’s and claim the money, and you want me to be that foreign partner. Is that all correct?
I’m sure you would not wish to proceed with this plan knowing that Mr. Hariri has many relatives and that his relatives have not been informed of the existence of the fund. Mr. Hariri’s son’s time as Prime Minister of Lebanon actually came to an end in January, but he is still very visible as the leader of Lebanon’s Movement of the Future, so it should be easy to find and inform him. I suggest that you send your family attorney to Lebanon to find and meet with Mr. Hariri’s relatives and negotiate a fair cut of the fund for you to pay back all the money you spent on the project. Your attorney sounds quite adept at persuading people to give him money, and I’m sure that talent could be used to obtain money for a client, especially if most of it is going to be used to pay his attorney fees.
I know that once you have followed through on my suggested plan, you will feel much better.
Dear brother Charles,
Thanks for your suggestion, but you since not understand me very well, although the story of Mr Hariri death was so complected and very long as well so I don’t have to go all that far, let me go strait to the point because even if I keep on explaining you will never understand me right, how I wish you could give me a little favour to visit my country two to three days you can be able to understand every thing by your self.
Mr. Charles do you know why I really want you to assist me finalize this project because you really know every thing about the death of Mr.Hariri. which my entire country doesn’t, with you honestly before seven office bank working days this fund will hit your account.
My brother this is money we are talking about you know? if I follow by your suggestion believe me I may cray like a kid at the end of every thing, I am into this bank service for less than 38years now, I have witness many deference cases similar to this, I am an old man of 60years now I knew what am protecting, I will not wish my self hard I know, I thing very well before I proceed, I know how I manage to raised the money I paid to my lawyer, I don’t want to die in hart attack,
Beside contenting the relative of Mr. Hariri mighty lead our bank to tailoring verification how did they know about the fund for years and believe me it must surely implicate me seriously, then I will loose my job in the bank and also loose my money I have spent into if care does not take I may end up my life in prison, which I prayed to almighty Allah not to allow such ugly incident to happen before I contacted you. please my brother try to understand my fillings you have been so kind to me I don’t want to regret I know you,
You have approved your self reliable and honesty before me, I and my family have lay a very big trust on you, I just wish to do business with you because you are very wise and wisdom man and I strongly believe that you will not eat my money, please my brother don’t allow my effort to go in vain.
I pray this dream come to reality inshaa Allah.
Mr. Charles please I need your direct mobile line so we can have some words Or you can call my direct mobile line.
My regard to your family.
Your brother Mr. Cliff.
Dear Mr. Cliff –
I’m afraid I will be unable to visit your country any time soon, and I have a problem with my voice that makes it hard for me to make myself understood on the phone, so a phone call would not be useful. I’m afraid that instead of not understanding me on the phone, you will have to settle for not understanding me in my e-mails.
And, as you’ve keenly observed, I am not understanding you any better than you are understanding me. What crime would you be tried for if it came to light that you notified Mr. Hariri’s relatives about the fund? I cannot see what you have done that would put you in jail, unless paying an attorney far too much for documents is a crime in Burkina Faso. And since you’ve taken the precaution of praying to almighty Allah that you would not be sent to jail, it surely will not happen, unless you start behaving in a way that displeases almighty Allah, and he might not take too kindly to your trying to claim the Hariris’ money for yourself.
Please understand, I am concerned only about your well-being, and the unclean conscience and spiritual taint that would arise from your current plan would surely take their toll.
Dear brother Charles,
How are you today couple with your work and family?
Thanks for your kind effort and for your wonderful idea, I have conversation with my lawyer yesterday and I explain to him whom you are to me and for your kinds and wisdom you are, and I told him every thing you said consign this project all your wisdom ideas, Alhamdulillah he has agreed to visit Lebanese for more verification and to have some words with Mr. Hariri’s relatives, but he was still demanding money from me again, however I have settled with him with some conditions all I need from you is your prayer please so your idea doesn’t destroy my future plan,
although I trust in Allah and has not fail me I believe he will never fail me, my brother if this your idea works out good honestly I will never forget you believe me, you deserve to be a friend, “a friend in did is the friend in need” Mr.Charles you are very kind and wise man, my wife said I should regard her greetings to you if may not forget please.
Yes that reminds me Mr. Charles please which country are from? don’t be surprised if this project yard successful I may decided to visit you in your country to establish my future as my wife recommended, so my brother please don’t be offended I may like to know you more if you don’t mind.
Dear Mr. Cliff –
I’m off work today, and my family is fine, as far as I can tell. Thanks for asking.
I’m glad to hear that you have warmed up to my plan and that your attorney apparently has some ideas of his own about how to work the situation to achieve the best outcome for you and himself.
I will forcefully entreat Allah not to let my idea destroy your future plan, as long as it isn’t at odds with Allah’s future plan. I’m sure he will appreciate that last bit about his own future plan taking precedence, and that might make him more kindly disposed to anything you have planned, unless it conflicts with his idea of what is good and proper. I try to encourage Allah not to deviate from what he would do anyway, implying that he always knows what is best, because I figure that’s bound to sit well with him. It’s hard to say what impact that will have on your prospects, but it certainly can’t hurt your chances of success.
Please convey my warmest regards to your wife.
Best regards from Canada,
Dear brother Charles,
How are you doing couple with your work and family?
My brother I am writing to inform you our development, Alhamdulillah every thing is moving fine with your idea but there is a little problem here with me, my lawyer has just demanded another amount of money to proceed to the Lebanese country to meet with Mr. Hariri’s relatives, according to my lawyer he said that the journey is not an easy trip, he said that he mighty spent four to five days to see that he ironed every thing out before he comes back, but he ensured me strongly that I must obtain success at the end with this idea.
He said that the idea of traveling to Lebanese was very nice but I must spend some money again in order to obtain the success, he demanded $6500 dollars for the expenses and I don’t have this money, I applied for loan in our bank and our director refused because I haven’t pay back the previous money I loaned from bank authority to execute the death certificate and other necessary expenses towards this transaction.
I have decided to sale my family land near by church road and I have call up a land agent this morning before I left to my office and he has accepted to bye it with sum of $3000 dollars, so my brother I need your help please, I want you to help me with the sum of $3500 to enable my lawyer take off immediately, I promise I will never disappoint you Or to forget your past effort,
you are still among of this project beside I told my lawyer every thing about you, as you can see it was your idea we commence on, I can as well forward you my working ID card for more trust if you wish.
Please I am waiting to hear from you as soon as possible to enable the action commence immediately.
Dear Mr. Cliff –
It’s been very difficult to do couple with my work and family lately, but I’m managing, as I hope you are as well.
I’m glad to hear that your attorney is so enthusiastic about my idea that he is making his rates a little more reasonable for you this time, but I’m sorry to hear that they’re not reasonable enough that you will be able to pay them.
As much as I would love to send you $3,500, I regret that I am not able to do so at this time, as my poor 104-year-old grandmother requires a steady supply of expensive clothes, gourmet food, and cigarettes to keep her spirits up as her faculties and abilities slowly slip away, and I must contribute to providing these things for her, for as the Prophet said, “He is not of us who does not honor the elderly.”
However, you will be pleased to know that although I cannot help you financially, I have prayed to Allah and asked him to provide you with whatever assistance is necessary for the realization of all of your noble and honest goals. You’ve said that Allah has never failed you, and I can see no reason that he would start failing you now, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that the success of your current venture is assured.
Dear brother Charles,
I am sorry to border you of this money but the reason is that I don’t have any other option than to informed you to help me, I have tried all what I could to see that I raise this money complete and all my effort was in vain, I even applied for loan in our bank here again while I haven’t clear the old dept I loaned to execute some necessary document before this project started. Honestly my brother ever since my lawyer made it very clear to me that with the idea of meeting with the family of Mr. Hariri is the key to obtain success in this project, believe me I haven’t rest my brain thinking on how to raise this money, because I just lost my suss of assistance towards money.
ever since my wife’s shop get bunt by fire on November 17th I was total lost all the money I have invested in the goose there, I mean that I lost every thing there including cash in the drawer, honestly ever since this ugly incident happened I have never being my self but I was very fast to gether courage as a man because of my wife, she is a woman precisely I opened the shop with her name, the ugly incident affected her so much that it was by grace of almighty Allah that saved her not to die in hart attack.
However I don’t have to tell you all these it’s my personal problem but I am trying to let you know why I asked you for this money and I am sorry for that, but my brother you see I have tried all what I could to see that I raised this money complete here but it was very difficult for me believe me my brother I have sold our general family land in other to raise this money but no way. My brother Mr. Charles, please you are the last alternative I have now, if it was when I am still Mr. Cliff what ever I want I get it, I don’t asked any human being for help of money, I personally gave loan to peoples, I am man enough then, I am very boost of my self then and I am also content with what I have.
I have or any body that can help me for this money honestly believe me Mr.Charles I wouldn’t have come to you for this help, there is nothing I haven’t think of about this remaining balance $3500 dollars, My brother Mr. Charles please you can help me with any amount you have even if it’s not complete the total balance of the $3500. let me see what next do.
Allah helps his people through people, Allah doesn’t come from above to help peoples, if I may say this you really come from almighty Allah to lead this project to success, you know much about the object of this project which our bank authority knows not about it, remember it was your idea I have decided to proceed, including my lawyer approved your idea, can’t you see you really come from almighty Allah to lead this project to success. Mr. Charles please don’t fail me you are my last alternative.
Anxiously awaiting your early reply please,
My regard to your family.
Dear Mr. Cliff –
I am very sorry to hear of your troubles. It was nice of Allah to save your wife from dying of a heart attack after causing you and her to lose all your money and suffer the trauma of watching the shop go up in flames. His ways are certainly mysterious. Most humans, with their flawed minds, might have thought that the best way to do you a good turn would be to not let the shop burn down in the first place, but Allah, with a perfect wisdom that is beyond the comprehension of mortals, chose to keep your wife from dying after allowing her misery to carry her to the edge of death.
Have you ever wondered what Allah was trying to tell you by delivering such a setback? You seem to be able to comprehend how he operates better than most people, with your understanding that he helps people only through the actions of other people. What person did he use to stop your wife from having a heart attack?
If Allah does want you to succeed in your current project and intends to make this happen by connecting you with the right people, I think he may have at least three people in mind, including me to supply you with the idea to bring the Hariris into your plan, your attorney to fine-tune the plan and implement it at considerable expense to you, and a yet-to-be-revealed third person to help you pay that considerable expense. It’s curious that Allah didn’t pick an attorney who would work on contingency and was capable of formulating a plan on his own (such a person could have done it all for you), but as we’ve seen, Allah likes to keep things interesting by making them more complicated for you, and of the two of us, you are surely more qualified to ascertain why this is so.
I can simplify things for you a little bit by telling you that I cannot be the person who helps you financially. I can’t very well allow my grandmother to finish her days on this earth depressed. I wouldn’t be able to give you $3,500 even if my grandmother were already dead, and since she’s not, I can’t afford to give you any money at all. I recognize that this knowledge will enable you to channel your energies into finding a more realistic source of financial backing for your project, and perhaps that’s a little gift from Allah.
POSTSCRIPT: I haven’t heard from Mr. Cliff for a while, so I assume he’s finished corresponding with me. However, if you missed it in the comments for the first installment, jalf brought to light a website called 419 eater where you can find correspondence with Internet scammers that goes well beyond the gentle ribbing I gave Mr. Cliff; most of the interactions documented there end up in actual comeuppance for the scammers. Be forewarned, though: it’s very compelling reading, and there’s lots of it, so it’s easy to get sucked into it for long periods, as observed by CD in the very same comments section.