Joesph DaCosta, a “Gambian businessman” in Sierra Leone has vehemently denied being a 419 scammer. Mr. DaCosta speaking on the line to Freetown on Friday evening said: “I read your article with total dismay and outrage. I never scammed Omar Bah as implied in the news article. I am not a 419 scammer. Scammer for what? Omar Bah and I have been childhood friends. We reconnected via Facebook after many years of not getting in touch. I am into agro-business. I am running a company in Sierra Leone called Salone seeds. It was during my conversations with Omar that he told me, that he was interested in cultivating palm oil trees in the Gambia. I told him that I know where they sell palm oil seeds in Sierra Leone. He wired me $2,061.000 to buy the palm oil seeds for him, which I did,” DaCosta remarked.
DaCosata said due to unforeseen job schedules and appointments, he couldn’t deliver the seeds to Omar’s brother as promised. Mr. Bah’s brother lives in the Gambia. He was supposed to fly from Sierra Leone to Dakar, Senegal, to deliver the seeds to Omar’s brother, but each time he planned his trip something will crop up in between.
“Omar became frustrated because of the slow pace of delivering the seeds to his brother. I purchased the seeds. It is in my office. I wanted to ship the seeds to the Gambia or meet with his brother in Senegal, but he said he is no longer interested in the seeds. He said he wants me to refund him his money to him. It is too late for me to return the seeds to the seller. I asked him to give me time to raise some money so that I can refund him, but he doesn’t “wanna” hear that. He insisted that I must refund him his money or else he will expose me to the media,” DaCosata said.
“I have been bombarded with tons of phone calls since the publication of the story by the Freedom Newspaper. People couldn’t believe that I was the one being portrayed as a 419 scammer in your paper. Given my friendship with Omar Bah, and family ties, I do not expect him to do this to me. I get it; I know that he is mad at me, but for him, to disparage me like this in the media is absurd. Prior to your publication, he called me, cursing me. I tried to talk him, to be patient and give me time to refund him his money, but he wouldn’t heed to my pleas. I am really disappointed with Omar Bah. I never expected him to treat me this way. To say that I am disappointed, is an understatement,” he added.
Mr. DaCosata said if Bah agrees to accept the purchased palm oil seeds from him, he will endeavor to ship it to his family in the Gambia by Monday. But he said he seriously doubt if Bah is interested in the seeds again.
“He told me unequivocally that he is no longer interested in the seeds. I have the seeds here with me. I can send you pictures of the seeds if you want. I am concerned about my reputation. The story has maligned me. Hence, I deemed it imperative to state my other side of the story before people will jump to conclusion to paint me as a scammer when I am not. You can call anyone in Sierra Leone and ask him about me. My integrity is in tack. I am running a legitimate business here,” he said.
Mr. DaCosta also denied defrauding people in the Gambia. He said the allegations are false and baseless. He challenged Mr. Bah to name one Gambian that he has defrauded before travelling to Sierra Leone. “ I am not a criminal. I left the Gambia with my integrity in tack. I came to Freetown after finishing my studies in Malaysia,” he concluded.