Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

An unfortunate discovery


An unfortunate discovery

Wellington Anglicans are dealing with the news that their quick response to a plea for urgent medical help has left them as victims of another Nigerian-type email scam.

Around $14,000 is involved – a sum that was raised in an emergency appeal for money that would (or so donors were told) allow a Tanzanian bishop’s wife to have life-saving heart surgery in South Africa.

It now seems certain that the appeal was a hoax.

The scam was uncovered a few days ago by a Wellington church group during a visit to Tanzania: on asking the Bishop’s wife how she was recovering after her heart surgery, they discovered she’d never been ill, hadn’t had an operation – and had no knowledge of the spurious appeal made in her name.

Anonymous supporters of the diocese have taken it upon themselves to reimburse the money that donors have given to this cause.

The background to the scam is as follows: Some years ago, the Diocese of Wellington adopted the Diocese of Kagera, in Tanzania, as a companion diocese. Anglicans in the Wellington Diocese have supported other projects in the Diocese of Kagera without problems.

In the course of the development of the relationship between the two dioceses, Wellington’s Bishop, Dr Tom Brown, has met his opposite number, Bishop Aaron Kijanjali on several occasions. They’d developed a friendship.

It appears that the fraudster, masquerading as Bishop Aaron, sent a series of emails direct to Bishop Tom, pleading for urgent medical help for his wife.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Bishop Brown is on sabbatical overseas, so the exact details of how the scam unfolded are not yet clear.

But it appears that the fraudster took extra care to make sure there was no phone communication between the two men. Phone connections between rural Africa and New Zealand are difficult at the best of times, and apparently Bishop Tom was told in an email that the Tanzanian bishop and his wife were in transit to a South African hospital and therefore, out of reach by phone.

An investigation is taking place into the documents and the financial transactions, to uncover as far as possible what happened, and to provide lessons for the future.


Nonetheless, the two Archdeacons in charge of the Diocese until Bishop Tom returns say they’re confident Wellington’s Anglican donors will be temperate in their response to the news.

“We were the victims of a scam,” Archdeacons Pat Muxlow and Lyall Perris informed churchgoers in an email, “but the needs of our brothers and sisters in Kagera have not changed.”

“Let us continue to be known as people of compassion and generosity.”

Ends

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two


The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...
More


 
 


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.