Another interesting post that I flagged while on jury service was a seminar in Nigeria on economic crime under the auspices of that country's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It was brought to my attention by a newsletter from my broadband service provider Zen Internet for which many thanks.
Much of the focus of this seminar was on what the Nigerians call "419 fraud" after s.419 of their Penal Code. This is "advanced fee" fraud that has been going on to my knowledge a lot longer than the internet. I used to marvel that people posing as "Chief This" or "Dr That" in the "Ministry of Something or Other" in Lagos or somewhere kept much better tack of my changes of chambers address when I moved from Manchester to London and then back to Manchester again than my solicitors or even the Bar Council. The first time I got a fraudulent request to open a bank account, I called the police only to be told by the very bored detective that he could paper the whole of Scotland Yard with these epistles. There is a rather amusing story of the biter being bit on the BBC website from last year "Turning the tables on Nigeria's e-mail conmen".
There are some good presentations on the Commission's website. The slides of a paper by Suresh Ramasubramanian, Manager, Antispam Operations, Outblaze Limited, Hong Kong are particularly interesting. The slides can be downloaded from the download centre.
As a friend of West Africa (my wife is of Sierra Leonean origin as indeed is Lois), I sometimes worry about the negative and obvious deterrent to foreign investment of stories like this. I have to emphasize that there are a lot of positive things about Nigeria and its neighbours. The excellent online collection of statutes, law reports and other materials from Nigeria Law which I mentioned in this blog in Nigerian Copyright Law a few weeks ago is just one example in our area.