Fake Money, Bougainville Politics and International Scammers

SSGM In Brief

Author/s (editor/s):

John Cox

Publication year:

2014

Publication type:

In Brief

On Saturday 16 February 2014, Barry Webb, an American citizen, was detained as he entered Port Moresby from the Philippines. He was travelling to Bougainville to deliver a briefcase full of newly minted 'Bougainville kina' or 'BVK'. This pseudocurrency is not legal tender in Bougainville (or anywhere else). Rather, the Bougainville kina is the creation of the U-Vistract scam, an elaborate Ponzi scheme (Cox 2013). When questioned by Papua New Guinea authorities, Webb claimed to represent the 'International Organisation for Economic Development' ('IOED'), a fictitious organisation with a name clearly intended to recall the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Webb produced a letter from the founder of U-Vistract, Noah Musingku, who now represents himself as 'King David Pei II' of the 'Royal Kingdom of Papala', a pseudo-state based in south Bougainville. According to the letter, Webb had been appointed as the Kingdom of Papala's 'Minister for International Monetary Relations' (Post-Courier 2014).

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