Help, it’s raining money

IN THE past few weeks I have become a dollar and a sterling millionaire ten times over. I have been bombarded with congratulatory emails from the “National Lottery, the Irish Lottery even The Australian Lottery”. My “winnings” if one was to total them amount to a staggering 20 million Pounds — in less than four weeks.

By Mahmud A Sipra

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Published: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 8:12 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:32 AM

All my “money” I am advised is safely in the hands of “fiduciary agents” who are holding these funds in trust for me and are waiting to hand them over to “approved courier companies” who for a “minimal amount “ will deliver my “winnings” to me by way of a “Cashier’s Check”. Move over Bill Gates. This could be the beginning of something big. We are talking hostile takeover here-nothing less.

The next windfall I received sent my investment and hedge fund advisers into a tail spin. The “Volkswagen Motor Car Company” “informed” me that I had “won”…Nah! Not a Volkswagen but “5 million Euros.” Imagine what this was going to do for my sense of well being to say nothing about one’s bottom line. Imagine also how inconsequential it is to these ghost riders of the Internet Highway, that the blue chip corporate entity in whose good name they attempt to launch such ersatz schemes are in the business of selling fine cars and not giving them away! Nevertheless, given that Volkswagen now own the Rolls Royce marque as well, I have decided after considerable deliberation that I am going to give a small part of my “winnings from them” —back to them. To pay for the Rolls Royce Phantom to fit in with my new rediscovered status in life.

It is said that fortune favours the brave. And money begets more money. I have to admit that since my fortuitous windfall I have started believing in such trite homilies. How else do you explain that a poor old rich lady in Burkina Faso has decided to leave her “2.5 million” dollars to me? There is a minor catch attached to her largesse though. She wants me to promise that I will spend the money on the “poor and the needy”. I suppose that explains how she got to me in the first place. Unfortunately I have had to turn her generosity down pleading my inability to fulfil her wishes to do “the Lord’s work” due to having lived a life of profligacy and the heavy baggage that a boulevardier carries. I have not heard from her or her lawyer since my confessional.

Then there are these three “bankers” —coincidently also from Burkina Faso. They have chosen me to partake of a fortune —about 25 million dollars —give or take a million if only I would agree to place my right hand over my heart and put my signature to a document that would unequivocally state that “I, am in fact the long lost next of kin” to a dead miner, a dead engineer and a dead entrepreneur.” Interestingly, all of the deceased men had three things in common. They all banked with the same institution, that none of them left a “Last Will & Testament” and that all three were of European ancestry with Anglo Saxon names.

Now I have been called a lot of things. A Cherokee Indian, a Punjabi feudal to a Mexican bandit —to mention only a few.

I am sure that there are some other choice epithets that my detractors could come up with as well but never have I ever been mistaken for a white Anglo Saxon person with a name like: Schmidt, Brandenburg or McAllister. That my middle name is Ahmed does not cause these self proclaimed “bank officers” the slightest twitch in their bare faced enactment of their version of Dead Man Walking. I never saw the movie but found the haunting soundtrack featuring the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan chillingly memorable.

I have spoken to friends and experts in the Internet community about this annoying and growing phenomenon of receiving unsolicited mail. Of course they all know about it. And of course they too have been beneficiaries of similar offers of largesse but they have learnt to take it rather philosophically as an occupational hazard of using the Internet.

It is all very well for them to be so dismissive. But it sure makes a mess of my plans about buying an island in the South Pacific. They did give me some valuable advice though. They told me that the solution to my agony lay within easy reach of my mouse. In a window that appears in all incoming emails. It is clearly marked “Spam”. Click it.

As for Mr Bill Gates, well, having staved off the imminent threat of a take over by a whisker —he can take it easy now. I do want him to know though that I can be just as charitable as he is. I just gave away my millions too, with the flick of a button!

Mahmud A Sipra is a best selling author and an independent columnist. He can be reached at

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