Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Perfect Fraud

Perfect Fraud
‘I feel sorry for Stiffen Mususha,’ said Kupela. ‘One minute he’s an honorable minister and the next minute he’s a dishonorable scoundrel.’
          ‘Half a minute,’ I said, ‘he had a forged certificate saying he was qualified as an accountant, when in fact he was only qualified as an acrobat.’
          ‘That’s not true,’ said Kupela. ‘He had a certificate from NIPA saying that he had been awarded a DA. It was not his fault if his employers didn’t know that NIPA stood for National Institute for Performing Arts, and that his DA was a Diploma in Acrobatics rather than Accountancy.’
          ‘Huh,’ I scoffed. ‘He willfully deceived them.’
          ‘It was their fault if they didn’t check with NIPA. Maybe his employers knew very well what they were doing. Some of them deliberately recruit acrobats into their accountancy department to turn the books upside down, so that profit turns into loss. Such creative accounting is just like high wire acrobatics; everybody laughs and cheers as the acrobat walks off with their money. The copper mines all pay high salaries to acrobatic accountants.’
          ‘But he cheated.’
          ‘Really Daddy,’ laughed Kupela. ‘Accountants are employed to cheat the ZRA. How can you criticize him for having the most important basic qualification?’
          ‘Well, he was not fit to be an honorable minister!’
           ‘None of them are honorable!’ laughed Kupela. ‘The only difference between him and the other ministers was that he actually qualified to do the job he was given. As Minister of Acrobatics, he was the only minister with a relevant certificate. And his acrobatics was so good that he could walk on his hands just as well as on his feet, and so convincingly that nobody was quite sure which end was which, or which end he was talking out of. And when he joined a dancing queen on the dance floor he was so acrobatic that nobody could tell which was the dancing queen and which was the minister, especially when the two of them were thoroughly entwined in his famous Erotic Dance of Ecstatic Coition.’
          ‘I don’t care how you try to twist the argument,’ I growled, ‘we don’t want people who cheat and deceive to get into politics.’
          ‘Hah!’ Kupela hooted. ‘Now your argument has become ridiculous! There’s no other way of getting into politics. Don’t you know that the election victory of the Punching Fist was achieved by pure fraud?’
          ‘Really?’ I said. ‘You mean Michael Sata doesn’t have a Standard Four Certificate?’
          ‘I wouldn’t know about that,’ she laughed. ‘But I do know that the PF Manifesto was Perfect Fraud.’
          ‘On the contrary,’ I said, ‘the Punching Fist Manifesto was a very straightforward statement of what they intended to do when they got into office. And they’re making progress. Where’s the fraud?’
          ‘It’s all in the other one, the Perfect Fraud Manifesto!’
          ‘I’ve never seen that one!’ I laughed.
          ‘Nobody ever has! The Punching Fist Manifesto was seen but not heard. The Perfect Fraud Manifesto was heard but not seen. It was proclaimed from the anthill.’
          ‘And that made it fraud?’
          ‘It kept changing, from one anthill to the next. At least Mususha kept the same certificate and stuck by it. He didn’t keep changing it, or producing new ones wherever he went.’
          ‘But why do you call this anthill manifesto Perfect Fraud’
          ‘At each venue it changed according to what people wanted to hear. It didn’t depend on principles, but only longitude and latitude.’
          ‘That’s politics,’ I laughed. ‘Windfall tax - no windfall tax.  Barotse agreement – Barotse treason.  Chinese go – Chinese stay.  Money in your pocket – Money in my pocket.  90 days – 90 years. Politicians are allowed to change their policies, but they’re not allowed to change their certificates.’
          ‘Oh yes they are!’ cackled Kupela. ‘It’s common in government for the issuing authority to change a certificate. Nowadays you can apply to the ACC to get a certificate certifying that you’re immune from investigation for corruption. This is a very valuable certificate, and a great honor conferred by the highest authority, and it automatically and vastly increases your earning capacity - far more so than a mere Ph.D.’
          ‘You’re confusing two things,’ I said. ‘What you’re talking about is a license, not a certificate. A license can be granted or withdrawn at the discretion of the issuing authority, depending on your behaviour. For example, a radio station license can be withdrawn if the station makes the mistake of interviewing an opposition party leader. But a certificate cannot be withdrawn.’
          ‘Nonsense,’ snorted Kupela. ‘A certificate is just the same! In fact, after NIPA issued Mususha with his certificate, they were the very same ones who withdrew it!’
          ‘But that was because he used it for accountancy instead of acrobatics!’
          ‘But now he had become an honorable minister,’ retorted Kupels, ‘so they could have given him an honorary doctorate in accountancy if they had wanted to!’
          ‘How can an institute of acrobatics confer a doctorate in accountancy?’
          ‘The folly of institutes and universities,’ sneered Kupela, ‘knows no bounds. I remember one former president who had a certificate that was a complete fraud, but a university solved the problem by giving him an honorary doctorate in law.’
          ‘You’ve got the story wrong again,’ I laughed. ‘The certificate you’re talking about was not a fraud, it was a genuine certificate and properly gained. The only problem was that he had changed his name to fit the name on the certificate, which didn’t belong to him.’
          ‘So,’ said Kupela slowly, ‘it wasn’t the certificate that was a fraud, it was him!’
          ‘You’ve got it!’ I said.
          ‘So was he sent to prison?’ she asked.
          ‘No,’ I said. ‘He was given the honorary doctorate.’

          ‘I rest my case,’ she replied.

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