Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why precise wording is important

I am connected to a number of organizations, and in this capacity I received an e-mail one day from someone who owed money to the organization.

The person stated her organization's P.O. number, my organization's invoice number, and the amount of the payment. She then said that her organization's check was returned, and asked the question:

Did you change your bank account information?

Note that she did not ask if my ORGANIZATION had changed its bank account information. She asked if I had changed MY bank account information.

I'll be in Europe for the next few months. I've always wanted to winter in Monaco.

And yes, I'm kidding - I gave the e-mail to the organization's accounting person. For reasons that I can't state publicly, a personal diversion of funds wouldn't have worked in this case anyway. But I found this fund diversion story that was particularly jarring:

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has announced the seizure of a property in Lagos, over the illegal diversion of funds perpetrated by the owner of the property....

The action is in respect of an ongoing investigation contained in a petition received in the Commission in 2011 involving Akinyemi Badejogbin and Lanre Bakare over acts bordering on illegal diversion of public funds for their personal use.

OK, perhaps you're yawning. But take a closer look at how the alleged scam occurred:

They were alleged to have used their former positions as Co-ordinator and Treasurer, respectively, of the National Anti-Corruption Volunteers Corps (NAVC), Lagos Chapter, to divert millions of Naira from the official NAVC Trustee Account into an illegally opened account named “NAVC Senatorial Account.”

Yes, the treasurer of an anti-corruption group is alleged to have engaged in corruption. Probably not surprising, but it's sad.
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