I had my first introduction to the culture of corruption when my Nigerian colleague, who sits next to me, asked me about the invoice Midis had submitted for $170,000.00 for 2 years advance rent for my apartment. As my immediate superior, he would have to approve the invoice. The OFFER FOR LEASE OF FURNISHED THREE BEDROOM FLAT AT 31 GUEENS (sic) DRIVE, IKOYE, LAGOS that was submitted as back-up for the invoice, written with the Nigerian grammar familiar to anyone who has read a 419 email from Nigeria, described the apartment as:
[A] 3 bedroom furnished luxury flat on the 3rd floor of a high rise residential building. Each apartment is artfully furnished with hugh (sic) bay windows and balconies for sunny, bright cheerful living and panoramic view of the Atlantics (sic) ocean. Also provided are recreational facilities and a bedroom for the steward in the domestics’ staff quarters.
The Offer for Lease was dated July 19th, 2012, over a month before I arrived in Nigeria, and also stated:
We refer to our joint inspections of the above stated premises with your Terry Thompson subsequent discussions on same.
The reality was that I was given a dingy first floor apartment in a two story building that had been vacated a few months before Midis lease was up by an expat who left the country before the end of his contract. The apartment had been empty and closed up for two months and mold and mildew was growing everywhere. Since Lagos Island is between the mainland and Victoria Island, no one living on Lagos Island has a view of the Atlantic Ocean but I had a panoramic view of the car park from the front, the standby generator twelve feet from the bedroom window and the eight foot compound wall six feet from the kitchen window.
Rent would be $60,000 plus $25,000 “Service Charge” per year with additional charges of $6,000 legal fees and $6,000 Agency fee.
Payment was to be made to Standard Hatered (sic) Bank, New York SWIFT code SCBLUS33 with beneficiary Institution FBN Bank (UK) Limited account 3582-059969-001 and Final Beneficiary Enrish Limited, First Bank of Nigeria PLC sort code 011.154.453 and account number 2013938329.
I would later find that this was about three times the rent for comparable apartments in the area when I went to an Estate Agent to find an apartment on my own.