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Beware of Fraud: Tawa Enterprises, Nigeria

On 2004-11-11 a company called Tawa Enterprises placed a large order with Bharat-Udyog, a wholesaler of abrasive products in India. The address given in the purchase order was as follows:

Tawa Enterprises
92-94 Fred Macweb Street, Lagos, Nigeria
Fax: 234-1-2646084, Dept. 397
Tel.: 234-1-2646082
The purchase order, signed by one James Smith, import manager and Babalola Tawa, Chairman/Managing Director, was for abrasive papers worth US$98,600. The merchandise was to be airfreighted to Ikeja Airport, Lagos, Nigeria, paid for in advance by bank draft.

As it turned out, the bank draft from Saudi American Bank in Saudi Arabia bounced. That bank did not reply to any queries about it by email, although the emails were read.

According to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Tawa Enterprises is not a member of their organisation so they could not provide any information about it.

Emails sent to the supplier that were signed "James Smith" arrived from email address with a full name of "Segun Bola".

Be careful when accepting orders from new customers in Nigeria and other countries that are hotbeds of fraud. Even though in this case the supplier was careful not to ship any goods before the bank draft cleared, its credit rating may still have suffered by presenting a bank draft that bounced.