Creating Hostile Investor Atmosphere
The frequent and alarming rate at which 419ers are now defrauding foreign investors in this country has become a cause for the genuine concern of many well meaning Sierra Leoneans including this writer.
Over the past few months, foreign investors have become the target of notorious fraudsters including Mohamed Mbakui, Tamba Chendeka and others who have carted away thousands of US Dollars from foreigners.
Mbakui reportedly extorted $700,000 from an Indian Investor called, Mr. Malik and very recently, one Tamba Chendeka reportedly swindled over $100,000 from a British man. Such rampant fraud perpetrated against foreign investors bears the highest potential to scare away potential foreign investors and tourists.
As recent as yesterday, New Vision carried an article about another Indian Investor who lost over %100,000 to another 419er and sometime ago, a Swiss tourist was intimidated at the Kenema Police Station where he parted with $400. These successive reports of foreigners being hoodwinked by Sierra Leoneans have the capacity to give this nation an international bad name that could not be laundered easily.
Sierra Leone is globally renowned to be a foreign-friendly and hospitable and peaceful country, therefore, government must not allow a handful of celebrated con men to blemish the good name this nation has had for years. I am not praying for a situation wherein Sierra Leoneans in diaspora will start receiving the embarrassment of being watched with suspicious eyes due to the criminal activities of their fellow citizens. I am also having the fear that the persistent fraud against foreigners may make us seem xenophobic and may even lead to the blacklisting of our passports.
Let us not drive this nation to the point of being black labeled as a nation of criminals. Government must act firm and fast to crack down on the rampant defrauding of especially foreign investors in order to maintain a clean international image and to encourage more foreign investors to invest in this nation to boost our crippling economy.
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