SPOTTING a looter is as easy as identifying a peacock among birds! They are colorful, flamboyant and loud. So are looters (what the money is spent on, not necessarily the person). They scream, ‘I’m a thief, catch me if you can!’
Stolen monies are exhibited so crudely that those who even look the other way cannot miss it.
Big money never suits looters as there’s this incongruous and incompatible marriage that lacks unity between lifestyle and the persona of the thief.
There are many ways to identify ill-gotten wealth, and those who care to know find them as easy as ABC:
- Cavorting with damsels young enough to be their daughters, way above their league or high maintenance society dames.
One easy way to follow stolen money is to look well at the activities of the thief when it comes to women (or men)!
When a man runs into money that he has not labored for, he looks for women who are young enough to be his daughters (either in school, working or even without means of livelihood).
And he lavishes money on them –buying expensive clothes and accessories, taking them on trips to fabulous spots across the world, renting houses or buying houses for them, and even giving them automobiles.
Generally, treating the women to a lavish lifestyle far above their class.
Sometimes they fancy women way beyond their leagues, from former beauty queens to high society dames or socialites who dress to the nines attending the most exclusive and nonsensical events.
They catch the attention of the women by doling out millions and millions, and giving them treats beyond reason.
The men who loot many times are greedy when it comes to sex, that organizing orgies become second skin.
They are obsessed with pleasure, and party to the world’s end.
The women chase younger boys who they lavish attention and money on (even when they are married!)
The ‘boys’, without any serious means of livelihood, are at their beck and call, and they have some spoils to show for their prowess and attention.
From automobiles, good clothes, to flats in a good neighbourhood.
2. They party hard as if tomorrow is world’s end
Looters are always seeking the next thrill through parties (in whatever guise). From private gigs to picnics and lavish parties anywhere they want to unbelievable raves at night clubs.
They recruit women (especially young university undergraduates), and throw champagne and all the liquor under the sun and the sky around.
They hardly dance, but encourage the damsels to rollick almost naked.
When they are at night clubs, they show off by nestling at VIP sections, ordering choice drinks as if money grows on trees.
They re-define what money means and can be lavished on, when they stage events –either birthdays, weddings or funerals.
From the invitation card to the hall and décor, food and drinks, everything is done to excess. From the musician on bandstand, to cake and all the paraphernalia of a good event, money is not spared.
And guests even go away with expensive mementoes, sometimes high end phones, iPads and gadgets of the season.
3 They buy private jets, hire one, fly first class –and travel so often that you wonder what they do for a living
The first thing those who come across easy money, who have looted our treasury and stolen our common wealth do is to purchase a private jet. The money at their disposal is so enormous that they must own a jet.
If they cannot afford a jet yet, they hire one wherever they are going (usually with their retinue of damsels of easy virtue). The next best thing is to fly first class (which cost over a million naira), and rub shoulders with the very well-heeled.
Looters are hardly in the country as they are monitoring their ill-gotten wealth at havens far away from prying eyes.
At the slightest opportunity, they are out of our shores!
4 Build houses across the country and beyond (which have no commercial value)
Across Nigeria and beyond, they erect spectacular houses which have no commercial value, sense of decency and decorum.
Lavish buildings, from ill-thought out hotels, luxury flats, duplexes and office complexes are erected wherever they find land, just to launder the money.
And some of them live in humongous houses that defy common sense.
The houses hardly find tenants and the hotels rarely occupied and running well –because the object is not to really make money. But to keep the loot until eyes are averted from their activities.
People whose income can barely rent a flat in Surulere, living in a duplex in Magodo –it is so easy to tell.
In the United Kingdom and cities across the developed world, houses and flats which are hardly occupied for one month in a year abound.
On Billionaire’s row, in North London, proceeds of ill-gotten wealth abound –with many of the exclusive houses on Bishops Avenue unoccupied. You can find looters’ homes in Knightsbridge or the outskirts of London, in Paris or its suburbs, Malaga or Marbella, New York, Houston… Everywhere!
5 Ostentation in clothes and accessories
It is very difficult to hide money –whether stolen or acquired through genuine labour. Those who have any money at all, usually adorn themselves in luxury items –from clothes, shoes, watches to other accessories.
And those whose eyes are well trained can detect those whose income hardly match their garbs.
What’s more, men and women who have stolen wear their spoils to tell others they have arrived. They enjoy the showy, gaudy and flamboyant. Their clothes are more colourful, their jewels glitter more. And they often talk about the prices of their apparels and accessories, telling all about their exotic and exclusive gems and jewels, bags and shoes, and how only few were made by the designers and craftsmen.
Those blessed with genuine income have little reason to show off. They adorn what is described as ‘inconspicuous subtlety.’ And they never talk about their adornments. They are evasive when the subject is raised. The well-bred never show off. They choose unnoticeable items which whisper class.
But with ill-gotten wealth, gems and shiny metals are preferred.
If a woman has a £5,000 Hermes Barkin bag, it is either her husband produces an exceptional commodity, or the money is stolen! And most likely, the money is stolen.
Who carries a £5,000 bag –only celebs who earn million of pounds a week!
6 Choice collection of automobiles
With stolen money, your toys have to scream, ‘I’ve arrived!’ And Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, Jaguar, Masserati and uncommon automobiles litter their garage.
They have more vehicles than the days of the week –and their homes are more like auto marts.
And they usually have more than one of any brand of automobile they fancy.
Buying cars for their girls (or boys), means nothing. The money is so much that spending it presents a problem.
7 Luxury boats and yachts, and pursuits of princely sports and pastimes
Looters, money launderers and those who receive proceeds of crime are eager to look legitimate –and copy the lifestyles of the very blessed.
Since the rich enjoy the sea and sun, and have yachts and luxury boats to titillate their passion, the looters quickly join.
They also acquire luxury boats and look for ways to mix at sea and the Islands the legitimate congregate.
But it is easy to tell them apart.
They also play polo, spending huge sums on thoroughbred horses, hiring minders and buying the best accessories.
8 They collect art and objects of desire
They develop a fake interest in art and objet d’art, believing that some of the loot can be converted easily when they need cash.
They start to talk to art collectors and artists, museums and auction houses, snapping up pieces which they can easily sell.
Those who can hardly differentiate a water colour piece from pencil work, litter their homes with a collection connoisseurs will envy.
They recruit buyers whose major preoccupation is to look for worthy pieces that have high value.
9 Accounts across the nation in many banks, and abroad
Stolen money is largely laundered through banks!
You can easily find those who don’t manufacture anything, provide any meaningful service, operating accounts with hundreds of millions and billions of naira.
The bankers teach them all the tricks –and try all the games in the books to make the money appear legitimate.
And we will be deceiving ourselves if we claim the Central Bank of Nigeria is unaware of the activities of looters and money launderers.
They have multiple accounts in banks, and lodge hefty sums at will without corresponding activities to show legitimacy.
Offshore accounts, in safe havens or where the authorities look the other way, are maintained.
You see all sorts of spurious activities in their accounts across borders.
10 Valuable items and money in safe deposits
Foreign currencies, exclusive gems and jewels, are kept in safe deposits of banks and financial institutions across the world.
Since many of the gems and jewels can be resold, and the foreign currencies easily exchanged, they are comfortable keeping it in these safe deposits with elaborate security systems.
They also have safes at home, in the ceiling and underground tanks where monies are stored.
They mention foreign currencies at the drop of a hat. And many times do business in dollars, pounds or euros.
11 Fake and unprofitable businesses
There has to be some semblance of a company or group of companies to make the looter seem legitimate. But the businesses are so ill-thought out, hurriedly put together and shoddily run. Many are copy cat concerns which lack know how by the operators.
But since the object is to launder money and pretend as if serious transactions are going on, it doesn’t matter to the thief.
They open big shops selling products nobody wants at locations far more expensive than their inventories.
The income never matches expenditure, lifestyle incongruous to income.
-Kunle Bakare for Encomium.ng