Ever since the Menzgold v Security Exchange Commission (SEC) v Bank of Ghana (BoG) brouhaha begun, the only name complements that seem to be on the lips of many a critic of Menzgold and its CEO is NAM1-Ponzi instead of the usual accolade – NAM1 for President - reigned on the protagonist of this piece.
Nana Appiah Mensah, by several other people who seem to have been inundated in the “Stockholm Syndrome” of Menzgold – and thus been captivated by the benevolent and seemingly rich display by Charles Ponzi.
Are such accusations stemming from the physical outward similarity between the two personalities – both slim, short and always putting on a charming smile – or from the fact that both had a demon in the name of SEC meddling in their cases or most probably from the various schemes which both have masterminded?
Is it probably because both Ponzi and NAM1’s wife share a common name, Rose or that one was hailed as the heir apparent to Nana Addo and the other as the most important man in America/ “The Maker of Money.
To the bereaved family of Charles Ponzi and his supporters alike, I would in his own native language say ‘scusa mi’ – literally, I apologize for bringing your beloved’s name into such a conversation and for suggesting that he is, in fact, alive and had been on his usual extravagant exhibitions just to trap unsuspecting members of the public to invest in his scheme.
A similar degree of apology also goes to all supporters of Menzgold and NAM1 alike who may plunge into throwing tantrums without even attempting to read this piece to see an “Aurum Utallium” before pending their signatures to a ghost vault contract.
Once again, sorry for the blunder I just committed. I had wanted, in all manner of honesty, to type the phrase gold vault market contract but it was all just but a slip of dividend and or principal and the disappearance of my investment into thin air.
But as accusative as this piece may sound, it purpose is just to show the striking and gleaming similarity between Charles Ponzi and his probable cousin – NAM1 and to leave readers to arbitrate as to who is who in the case at hand and thus – is NAM1 Ponzi himself or just an ordinary fellow trying so hard to be Ponzi.
Readers should thus not plunge into thinking that those who do not stand with Menzgold are embarking on an agenda that is built on Schadenfreude. This author himself has in the past been a double survivor of similar schemes devised by Charles’ siblings in Putin’s land, Russia.
In this first part, we take a look at how both men mastered or are alleged to have mastered in their key area of dominance: lies/fraudulent misrepresentation and then to the basis on which both schemes succeeded.
In subsequent writings, we also would see the role the SEC played in both parties’ life and on the striking similarity in circumstances leading to both their collapse.
By this presentation, I hope that the reader could infer to the common attitudinal trait exhibited by individuals operating and or believed to be operating Ponzi schemes, as well learn to exercise due diligence whenever similar propositions are made to them. Finally, readers could decipher as to whether NAM1 is another fellow, a friend to Ponzi or Ponzi himself that has been reincarnated.
BSc v MSc. In Arrest and Lies (Educational/Occupational Backgrounds)
A lot is known about Ponzi as he has become one very historic figure. There is a verifiable evidence that Ponzi was born on 3rd March 1882 in Lugo, Italy, but moved to work in US as a waiter albeit short changing bills and falsifying documents where he could make his fortune.
It is also known that on losing his waiting job for fraudulent conducts, he moved to the Canada and eventually landed himself a job as a bank teller and that on seeing loopholes in the banking regulation and system specifically with regards to real estate loans, he masterminded the utter ransacking of a customer’s bank account.
He was once again arrested and served three years in prison. His penultimate arrest came shortly after gaining bail from the Canadian prison when he attempted to cash in by smuggling some Italians into the State. Educational wise, Ponzi also attended the University of Rome La Sapienza.
Contrarily, details about NAM1’s background are way too sketchy. We have been told that he was born on the 16th of May 1984. We accept it as such.
We have also been told that he attended the University of Ghana but with little information about his programme of study, hall of accommodation, amongst others. In fact, permit me to recite an accurate citation of ghpage.com’s of our home-bred genius.
“For his young age, the business guru also has several distinguished international academic backgrounds in Mining and Environmental studies, Finance, Political Science, Economics & Business Management, Psychology, African and World History, Theology, and Law”.(https://www.ghpage.com/personality-profile-zylofon-boss-nana-appiah-mensah/33748/).
It is quite evident that the above description doesn’t suit Ponzi as the latter dropped out of the university and could not achieve such academic feat.
But Ponzi at least, through historical collections, was honest in that regard and could serve us some proof as to his educational claims. We are yet to however get to the bottom of these long educational appellations heckled on the head of Ghana’s own financial genius as to how he reached such a gigantic mountain.
Like Ponzi, NAM1 is alleged to have been arrested in 2012 for engaging in visa/gold scams if rumours from one Gideon Aduku, with further pictorial evidence is anything to go by. Very little is also known about NAM1’s previous occupational endeavours, but I am told not to meddle into someone’s business even if his business is subtly based on my principal.
But when it comes to false misrepresentations, it seems both men are trying so hard to outwit each other. First, many clients of Menzgold were made to believe in via Menzgold’s website that the former is the largest exporter of gold.
However, Mr. Opare Hammond, the Managing Director of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (alias PMMC) debunked such claims in a JoyNews reportage insisting that Menzgold has constantly being ranked 4th or 5th on its monthly league table of major gold exporters (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmkiROkOmmw).
Mr. Hammond came out to speak way before the current mishap of Menzgold begun but just as Ponzi, NAM1’s affluent disposition coupled with the typical Ghanaian attitude of non-assimilation of information seemed to have blinded customers from doing the right thing, and thus to desist from investing with Menzgold as warned by the BoG.
Similarly, Menzgold lied through its teeth that that is affiliated to Swiss Gold even though such claims were refuted by Swiss company on enquiry from ace journalist – Manasseh Azure.
Funnily enough, Menzgold wrote a counter story on the 2nd of September 2017, titled 'Menzgold Exposes Manasseh Azure With Video Evidence In Swiss Gold Affiliation' even though it is yet to produce that so-called visual evidence to back its claims.
But the big question is, would a reputable organization in the like of Swiss Gold deny its affiliation to an organization if it is indeed legit? This, I believe, should have been some of the mind-boggling questions depositors, call them aurum investors, should have asked at the time.
If not for the emergence of this Menzgold v BoG scuffle, some may never have known that a picture purported to have been that of the premise of Menzgold UK’s launch was just another lie of a photoshop (https://www.pulse.com.gh/news/business/social-media-exposes-nam1-for-fake-menzgold-uk-launch-id8895005.html)just because most Ghanaians rather than being good citizens are better spectators.
Having experienced this, it would serve posterity right and safeguard its life-time dividend/principal payment from being postponed if rigorous attempts are made to enquire in toto about events and its sequences.
It may now be time to adjudicate between who is who with respect to false misrepresentations and times of arrest. Though Ponzi was the master of jailhouse, NAM 1, on the other hand seems to be an MSc. holder in false misrepresentations and photoshopping.
But perhaps, Ponzi has re-mastered in his signature trade of lies on his second coming, who knows? Lest I forgot, we have been rightfully informed, kind courtesy ‘blow-man’ – NAM 1 - that business isn’t a thing for the pope.
Greed and Quick Money – The Root of All Ponzis.
In the words of American author Peter David as narrated by David Akroyd, it is obvious that both schemes succeeded in their initial phases due to “peoples’ beguiling quest for quick and easy money” and partly because “people allow themselves to be overcome by greed instead of abiding by principles of logics”.
Further, it may sound quite convincing to insinuate that both schemes thrived because of economic hardships and great financial speculations on the path of citizens.
Specifically, it has become way too mundane to chance on aficionados of the hashtag IStandWithMenzgold claiming that the influx of Chinese and Russian immigrants is positively correlated with a very good market for precious minerals and hence it is all so true that one could make more than 10% profit on gold trade.
The principles of demand and supply, coupled with a quick glance at the gold price trend during Menzgold’s active operational days (please see below) could inform one that under a simple application of logics, it is highly impossible to meet a 10-% return on any given ounce of gold traded.
Ultimately, ignorance could be deemed as the most influential factor leading people to subscribe to such schemes. But the bottom-line still lies with our timid, information consuming attitudes; We never seem to take a critical look at the realities on the ground.
We rather believe in our own self-constricting financial understandings instead of at least asking questions and digesting different front of opinions.
Similarly, in Ponzi’s era, the US government introduced an option enabling relatives of Americans abroad to redeem the then postal reply coupons for international stamps and thus giving them the opportunity to write back to their families in America.
Ponzi in his own self-styled financial wisdom believed that for every dollar of postal reply coupon purchased, he could redeem them for 5 dollars of postal stamps elsewhere and thus making a 400% profit.
He also disregarded the basic principles of demand and supply and price determination just as exhibited by NAM1 and his standing with Menzgold-colleagues.
Members of the American public quickly jumped unto Ponzi's trail also without any due diligence. But perhaps both men were extremely good at convincing people especially with their affluent displays.
Whereas it has been rumoured that many big shots from all spheres of life have their investments with Menzgold, Ponzi had managed in the year 1920 to convince more than a quarter of the entire Boston Police force population to invest with his company.
Coincidentally, Ponzi’s company shares the same abbreviation with Menzgold and NAM1’s arc-rival – SEC, but whereas Ponzi’s C stands for company, NAM’s stands for commission.
In part II, we would further look at this holy trinity – Ponzi, NAM1 and the SEC interplayed but until then the best I could do is to advise friends and relatives of those still standing with Menzgold to inform them to take legal actions against the latter as its actions are in clear breach of the contract they signed.
These new terms introduced by your beloved organization weren’t something that you consented to and hence have all that it takes to drag it before a court of competent jurisdiction. Ciao folks! I must hurry before my one-district-one-factory investment disappears.