Samoa Mensa writes: My own 'Ponzi' story, NAM1's intelligence and security services' negligence
Luckily for me, this time around, I escaped the snare of a Ponzi scheme; my best escape in the Ponzi series since I got employed after graduating from the University in 2009. This may strongly be due to my cumulative past experience which helped in my judgement. However, I still feel guilty for being a vessel through which honourable friends of mine were also scammed through a previous Ponzi scheme, US Diamond Holiday. This very one gave birth to DKM because these same actors in the US Diamond Holiday re-branded it as DKM.
The point I realised that 'US Diamond Holiday' was a Ponzi was just when I was about receiving $10,000.00 cycle bonus. However, the journey to get to this jackpot required that I Introduce a couple more into this fake business. I had regretted, so upon serious reflections, I called on some of the people I had introduced who were still actively involved for us to quit. It was a complete downgrade to me. I did not gain; we lost quite a huge amount of money. I am however proud today that I prevented many more from being defrauded by losing mine. Elvis Darkwah, Bismark Darkwah, Dennis Antwi Agyei, Yaw Asirifi Antwi and the others, I am very sorry for those unfortunate past moments in the US Diamond Holiday experience. I am glad that through consistent diligence and the Grace of God, you are all still shining.
I was thinking aloud and I felt one way or other I ought to appreciate the bad experience I had with the US Diamond Holiday Ponzi in 2012-2013. Grossly, I lost about five thousand (GH 5000) cedis then. Who knows how much I would have invested in MenzGold considering how stress-free customers were getting these huge benefits?
How would one have been able to comprehend this highly intellectual 'MenzGold' Ponzi scheme of Nana Appiah Mensah (NAM1) if not for yesterday's experience?
This gentleman, Nana Appiah Mensah, in my opinion, is very smart. The only thing that makes his intelligence not worth celebrating is that he did not put it to good use.
Nana Appiah Mensah in the guise of trading gold deceived a substantial number of the Ghanaian citizenry to invest in his company, MenzGold. When one assesses trading of gold in the world market with every objectivity, it would be very clear that no economical strategy can cause a single gold investment to yield a ten per cent monthly dividend. Likewise, no mathematical algorithm nor scientific means can be used to sustain a business of this kind, considering the huge dividend (almost five(5) times the standard treasury bill rates) paid on a monthly basis to customers.
As lucrative as it was, more Ghanaians were sure to be lured to invest into it. Celebrity endorsement was another apt strategy he employed to trap music and movie fans. These fans obviously form about 95% of the country's population, and also boosted by the fact that showbiz is the number one content carried by the new and ever-growing carrier called Social Media.
He had a good relationship which may surely not be in kindness only but also in terms of cash with numerous bloggers. They set an agenda to champion and project the NAM1 brand to the public as if he was someone who was born on top of a golden mountain. They threw dust into the public eyes that he had numerous businesses worldwide. Sometimes, I ask myself if all these people were not his aides? Surely if these people including big celebrities, seasoned bloggers and journalists were all not accomplices to the alleged crime, then cool as I feel, NAM1 is very clever at what he does.
He was very smart at seemingly associating himself with every powerful person who occupied a sensitive leadership role in the Country. These include politicians, high ranking public officials, religious leaders, Kings, Chiefs, etc. If he had absolutely no accomplice in this very alleged MenzGold fraud, then we all as citizens have been scammed.
Why and how should this MenzGold Ponzi scheme and previous other MenzGold-like Ponzi schemes like Piram, US Diamond Holiday, Noble Dream Financial Services, Eden Financial Services, DKM, God Is Love Fan Club etc exist for that long they were in operation? Averagely, each of them existed for about a minimum of three(3) years. In each case, harm was done before it's own natural collapse or Government's intervention. One would wonder, how at all do these fraudulent institutions secure officers of the Ghana Police Service to guard their premises. The sight of the Police Officer protecting a premise of this kind naturally would boost the public confidence in their services. Certainly, a lot more people would walk in to invest. For this very reason, I ask myself, can the Police and other security services that ought to have been concerned deny our blame?
If I were security personnel who have the nation at heart, I would initiate investigations into this kind of businesses at their inception stages even if no one has made official complaint to my desk. I think that I ought to have seeing eyes and the hearing ears to sense foul play within the citizenry. To me, it is a shame on the entire security if no one could rise up to the task; sense any of these series of national frauds as early as possible before it got worse. It may also be that one committed officer-initiated investigations into possibly one or all of these frauds and he may have probably been frustrated by the system. Surely if I were a security officer, I would accept shared blame for the recurrent successful scheming of these frauds.
Being honest to myself, this is the case that I am an ordinary citizen as they call us. The system has been made in such a way that such that things are very difficult to fight from our angle. Many of us do not know the exact thing to do immediately one spot illegality in the country. Who do you report to? Few of us who may take actions are frustrated by the system.
Citizens look on and Police Officers collect bribes from commercial drivers, and everybody seems to fear to comment on the action because it has become a norm. Any idiot at all can sit in a public chair and extort monies from citizens for the very services they are being paid for at the end of the month. Nobody is saying anything about this. Allegedly, it is happening everywhere; in the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Health Service, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and almost every State Institution. This is how cheap Ghana has become; ill-treatment and extortion is a norm. If you do not pay your way out, your rightful documents are stacked. Lawlessness is on the continuous rise.
National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, can you rate your performance and impact as good over these years the nation has experienced consistent robbery of the citizenry rights? How well has the content of the Constitution served Ghanaians through your education programme and campaign?
With the current technological trend in the World now, your work would obviously be easier to execute than before. You do not need too many resources especially in terms of human to operate now. Television platforms, Radio platforms, the internet and Social Media are potent platforms you can place adverts, especially on sensitive topics as a means to educate the public. I believe many private media houses would be ready to partner the NCCE and Government to champion this good course. "What should you do as a citizen if you identify an illegal or fraudulent activity?" This is an example of the kind of questions you may use with their corresponding answers according to the constitution which will be a tool to help educate the public. This continuous public education can help boost the public confidence in our ailing institutions.
How would one feel if he or she was or is part of a Government under which such Ponzi schemes successfully operated? If I were a key member of any of the various previous and present Government, I would be ashamed that it took us so long to put a halt to the activities of MenzGold, DKM, US Diamond Holiday, Noble Dream etc. The urgent task is on the current Government to show commitment to solving the current MenzGold crisis with apt measure put in place to prevent any future Ponzi scheme occurrence in the country.
The Government must strengthen and empower our state institutions and the citizenry to work collectively to avoid future crisis. The government can set up a toll-free corruption report bank; a subsidiary under any or all of the prosecution agencies to facilitate the fight against corruption and illegalism.
As a nation, we may not have made accurate research into the effects of these fraudulent activities which have been over the past years. Many people have died as a result of shock in the aftermath of ponzis like MenzGold, US Diamond Holiday, DKM etc. Our death toll or casualties resulting from these fraudulent activities may be more than the death toll cumulatively recorded in nations that are experiencing recurring suicide bombings.
I think we would be safer with the presence of peaceful arms than entrusting our lives in the ride of people in coats and ties, holding big pens and papers that are ultimately aimed at discomforting the citizenry.
I share the pain with defrauded MenzGold customers. This is not only because I have been affected before but also because loved ones and numerous people are still struggling to put their pieces together in the aftermath of previous Ponzi shocks. Through these shocks, loved ones of my loved ones have lost their lives too.
The Government ought to be blamed too. The Government could not protect its citizens.
If anyone or group is ever able to successfully scheme a Ponzi in Ghana again, then we have failed as a nation.
Let us together uphold the virtue in our constitution and dismiss lawlessness to make our nation, Ghana, great and strong.
May God bless our homeland, Ghana.
Samoa Mensa is a Teacher, Writer, Independent Musical Artist and a Gospel Crusader