Priado Wealth Alliance: HelpGhana’s Legacy!

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Technology is now the criminals best friend; there’s now less effort in stealing a lot of money. When done right though, clueless people practically throw their hard-earned money at criminals.

How criminals utilize this power nestled within technology determines how smart or “unsmart” (I can’t say stupid) they are. Few criminals have shown themselves smart enough, but others are just plain dumb.
But then, the “inbetweeners” enjoy the spoils of decaying foundations and hope for the best.
The merry men at HelpGhana blazed the trail Priado Wealth Alliance carefully walk on now…however, no matter how professional a website looks or how sweet an offer appears, the truth will out.

The truth? Priado Wealth Alliance is the newest member on the Let-Us-Scam-Ghanaians campaign: stealing our monies GH¢30 at a time.

Following HelpGhana’s terrible example, Priado is built on a system that requires every new member pay out GH¢30, which ultimately goes to the referrer…with these new members referring new people to the platform so they can all get a piece of the action (a ponzi scheme).
Rinse and repeat until the whole world loses GH¢30

The fact remains, ponzi schemes don’t work unless somebody loses. Those at the bottom of the scheme are essentially defrauded by those on top. It’s a mathematical fact that no matter how many people join the scheme, 88 percent of the members will be on the bottom level and will lose their money.
The scheme revolves around the process of paying old investors with the money you get from new investors. The central method remains the same. All one has to do is hook a few investors who are willing to get in early on a once-in-a-lifetime business venture. The details of the investment don’t matter too much. What suckers people in is the promise of fantastic returns on investments. (Source: How Stuff Works)

After a lengthy conversation with a self-appointed “spokesperson” for Priado Wealth Alliance, it was obvious he didn’t know what he had gotten himself into. His description of the Priado’s business model is a textbook definition for a Ponzi scheme, but he just can’t understand why it’s illegal. That is a problem.

I have scoured the entirety of the Priado website in hopes of finding how the company generates wealth for it’s clients, wondering how they manage to stay afloat and be relevant when they have no clear-cut plan on making money. There is no such mention of that plan…but, they do encourage their members to bring in more “affiliates”. These affiliates come forward with their money, which is given to “older” members on the platform.

Priado is not a bank or a financial institution, but they promise members a whopping GH¢ 699, 940 for the initial deposit of GH¢30. Of course you’d have to jump through some hoops first but in the end, no legal company has what it takes to honor that promise.
What? Are they plucking out money from trees?

The “clueless” people in this venture consider this model as “networking”, but if the money is not generated by Priado but by the new recruits and then redistributed to the members, what happens when these members spend their “hard-earned” money but can’t convert new members?

There are no official social media pages for Priado, just a lot of obscure scam-looking pages with no obvious ties to the company…save for text-heavy low-res images with the Priado logo plastered all over. For a company that is allegedly legal, it does little to differentiate it’s business model from a Ponzi scheme.

What breaks my heart? My fellow Ghanaians still fall to this scam. When a new company crawls out of the woodwork with a get-rich-in-no-time offer, 9 times out of 10, that offer is most probably false and illegal.
But alas, the life of opulence blinds people to the red flags these preposterous offers raise.
Until people change from such childish fantasies, I fear we will always fall to such trickery.

Priado Wealth Alliance, you are on the radar now.

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Demolish HelpGhana!

What if I told you that the smartest people in this world don’t know everything. Even the greatest minds belonging to fictional characters – Batman, Sherlock Holmes and Sheldon Cooper – falter when they are tested in areas beyond their knowledge. Artificial intelligence doesn’t fare any better, because, in the end it was put together by “insufficient” people – but God help us when a fully realized AI is built.

The simple truth to what I’m trying to say is, no single person on earth knows everything.
If the people who built spaceships and calculate the speed of black holes don’t know everything, that doesn’t speak well for the average Joe like myself.
So, in times of self-doubt, I reach out to friends who are more “enlightened”.

A couple of months ago a friend sent in a too-good-to-be-true kind of offer. This offer, made by faux-altruist group, HelpGhana, promised Ghanaians millions of Cedis if they embedded themselves into the group. I liked what they were selling but I knew something was wrong, so, in my I-need-a-smarter-friend moment, I contacted an investor.

Long story short, he confirmed my suspicions; the offer was fraudulent.
Most pyramids schemes are.

Due to my good nature, I reached out to a lot of my friends who were considering the devils deal – and sold them off it – but that wasn’t cutting it.
So, in order to save everybody from the gut-wrenching heartache of losing “just” Gh¢10 ($3) to HelpGhana’s unethical pyramid scheme, I reported the group to a lawyer friend who promised to throw a Kantanka-branded bomb into their “operational headquarters”.

My personality rarely welcomes optimism, so after a while I was compelled to go looking for the smoldering remains of a fallen pyramid. My faith in my lawyer friend wasn’t misplaced…I just don’t trust Kantanka products.

Though HelpGhana’s activities on all platforms had crawled to virtual halt, it wasn’t entirely indicative of a dead enterprise. The higher-ups of any pyramid scheme convert as many people as possible to their cause, then sit back and enjoy the spoils of their clueless followers who keep recruiting more people;
A demonic” equivalent of a domino effect.

Continuing with promotions at this point would be unnecessary. Thus, not seeing anything in the way of advertising does not connote the destruction of HelpGhana…but an existence that has forgone the need to remain public. If that is their current state of being, then people are still losing money.

I saved a few of my close friends when HelpGhana first came to light, but now Ghana calls for my attention.
The simple and ugly truth is, pyramid schemes by nature are unsustainable; as more people are recruited, finding the next person to sway to the cause becomes nigh impossible. At this point, recruits late to the party are unable to profit since all money is funneled to the top. Before anyone catches on though, the higher-ups of this illegal venture would have made their money and Houdini’d themselves out of existence.

Like all evil and self-serving companies out there, HelpGhana offered Ghanaians a promise of a better life by choosing a proven system that allegedly rakes in a lot of money. It seemed simple enough, so scores of Ghanaians bought into the idea hook, line and sinker.

Read this excerpt:

HELPGHANA.CLUB helps you get the money or capital you need. Whether it is a business idea or any financial need, with HELPGHANA.CLUB you get to have an online platform that gives you access to and connects you with the people who are ready to help you.

We at HELPGHANA.CLUB help you with direct funding for your financial needs. With our program you are just close to financial freedom.

OUR AIM IS TO CONQUER GREED AND RAISE ENTREPRENEURS FROM AFRICA. WHEN YOU RECEIVE HUGE SUM THROUGH OUR PLATFORM, INVEST IN YOUR DREAM COMPANY AND EMPLOY MORE YOUTHS AND CONQUER THEFT, UNEMPLOYMENT AND CORRUPTION. WE CAN ACHIEVE OUR GOALS AND DREAMS AS A TEAM!

 

Now then, let’s do some math:

Level                Number of New                Total Number of
.                            Participants                         Participants

1                                  1                                              1

2                                  2                                              3

3                                  4                                              7

4                                  8                                             15

5                                 16                                            31

6                                 32                                            63

7                                 64                                           127

8                                128                                          255

9                                256                                          511

10                              512                                         1,023

11                             1,024                                       2,047

12                             2,048                                       4,095

13                             4,096                                       8,191

14                             8,192                                      16,383

15                            16,384                                     32,767

16                            32,768                                     65,535

17                            65,536                                    131,071

18                          131,072                                    262,143

19                           262,144                                   524,287

20                           524,288                                  1,048,575

21                         1,048,576                                 2,097,151

22                         2,097,152                                 4,194,303

23                         4,194,304                                 8,388,607

24                         8,388,608                                16,777,215

25                        16,777,216                               33,554,431

 

From my borrowed math above, if this vile venture started with one individual recruiting two people with each one recruiting two people, and so on, we’d exceed the population of Ghana in just 25 levels.

What do we do then?
Well, I guess West African countries are pretty “tight”, so why not invite them to the lose-your-Gh¢10 party.

People of Ghana, let me be your “smart” friend; if you’ve been tempted and you’ve made it this far in my post, I’d love to believe you’d save your small money.

If you fell victim though, please be wary of offers that sound way too good to be true.
Be the cautious Roadrunner and not the ostrich.

And…to the masterminds behind HelpGhana, I hope you all go to jail.
No! I won’t mince words.
You planned to steal money. You knew it was illegal…but carried it out anyway.
God forgive you evil lot.

The Creative Struggle

A killer intro; a mandatory aspect of any great literary piece.

That’s what I aim for, but sometimes I can go through loads of intros before I settle on “the one”.
Other times I just give up and move on to other distractions…ever hoping for a bulb to light up amid the chaos.

Deciding on what to write isn’t the problem, but creating that perfect intro cripples my creative spunk. It is the “easiest” to put together but the hardest to craft and master.

I am not a perfectionist…but I do try my best.

It is indeed gut-wrenching to find readers skip past the intro that kept you up many a sleepless night. This is my umpteenth attempt at this intro, but who is counting, right?

I break my squishy brain for the “perfect intro” and no one reads it.

SIGH!

My creative foibles aside, this little predicament raises a concern that haunts creatives the world over: the infamous “Creative Block”.

If you find yourself in the creative sphere – writers, musicians, performers, artists –  then you know how far-reaching this “block” really is.

It is a deep pit of despair from which only the determined can escape…and mind you, the act (of escaping) may last for days, weeks, months or even years.

When you lose your muse, you better put on the best show of your life to win her back, or in the very least, break down every door known to man until she’s nestled safely in your arms once again.

Being creative isn’t the cakewalk some claim. Sure, it might come easy to some but the truth hits hard when you realize even the best of the best plunge headfirst into the “block”.

It comes with the territory and quite normal to wander its labyrinthine maze on occasion.
Heck! It took me quite a while to put this post together, so yeah…it is a global epidemic.

For some though, getting out of the “block” can be as easy as staring at a blank page for 3 straight days…or as daunting as seeking inspiration from someone else’s works.
Inspiration does works: I do it often, although my case requires I stare at random images till the lazy brain hamsters start showing their worth – they are quite the lazy lot.

But where does “getting inspiration” end and “stealing’ begin?

A creative mind is oft lauded and appreciated, even when most don’t know the hardships (and headaches) such a mind endures. We love the creative people who have made an enviable living out of selling the crazy and innovative ideas scurrying around in their heads…and some of us hope to someday walk beside them, or better yet, ahead of them.

But how can we push boundaries and break down restrictive molds if we forgo our ability to think and glaringly steal ideas?

People are fierce at stealing ideas, but for today’s lesson we will focus on Ghana and her many green-eyed citizens. I know you’d all love to see me point just one finger at Kofas (a Ghanaian movie director) and watch him run into hiding again, but that won’t be fair to him.

The sad truth? This sin of intellectual thievery goes beyond Kofas’ blunder; it is a canker in Ghana’s creative sphere that just won’t die (T1000).
Ghana’s creative industry is actually not as competitive as those in western countries, but the breakneck speeds at which content – videos, music and pictures – is pushed to the public opens up a very big avenue to steal intellectual properties with us none-the-wiser.

Local production houses steal entire movies – foreign and local – and then repackage them as new.
In an industry where a single production house can shoot 4 full movies in a week with barely any script, we should not be surprised if new movies recycle plot from old movies.
Heck! Even Hollywood is doing that…so why not Ghana.

That much content in such short a span negates the need for brainwork for some creative individuals in Ghana. A few put up a valiant effort, but like moths to a flame, they embrace the system: recycle and steal…because no one cares.

Kratos in the North and Mortal Kombat in bushes.

Just so you know, Kratos speaking Dagbani is as weird as it sounds…

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From the Shadows

When Kofas and his merry band of actors announced John & John, a movie that bears an uncanny resemblance to Skeem, I doubt they were ready for the backlash that was to follow.

All things considered though, Kofas’ “remake” of Skeem could have gone unnoticed if both movies had been obscure:
BUT NOPE! They were as high-profile as they come, with Skeem benefiting from the publicity and media coverage that comes from being critically acclaimed.

John & John, a blatant and unrepentant copy of Skeem could have been a remarkable hit in Ghana, if Kofas’ folly had not reared its head.

He has since gone into hiding, but this blight on his record invariably calls into question his prior endeavors…and that is a shadow I fear he might never pull away from.

I would like to think this issue would educate the creative public in Ghana about intellectual thievery…but I fear I might be asking for too much, considering the first presidential speech from President Nana Akufo-Addo lifted passages from the speeches of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

What can I say? It’s in our blood.

 

NB: Go here for a surprise.

The ‘ICE DROP’ Challenge.

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Ghana is known for many things…but a country with thoughtful companies?
Better look elsewhere.
We don’t have those. OH NO!!! Not at all.
Some might say otherwise but as they say, “it only takes one bad nut to ruin the nut-sack”…or something like that.

PSST: at the end of this post, I’ll throw a challenge your way and hopefully you will take it on.

I would so love to shoot pebbles at all the incompetent companies and organizations in Ghana but today I want to focus on just one: Baron Water House Limited, the makers of the ICE DROP sachet water.

Few people might know this particular brand but a lot of Ghanaians (…and foreigners) are drinking it, without a care in the world.
To a large extent it’s not our fault; we’ve become desensitized with the over-abundance of sachet water currently on sale…to the point where we don’t check the labeling or if it has even been approved and stamped by the FDA.

We just drink away…because in the end, they are all the same to us.

Now to the few out there actually paying attention; I am sure you’ve noticed something extremely wrong with “ICE DROP” …and if after this ghastly discovery/realization you’re still drinking it, then…ummm…Godspeed.

ICE DROP is indeed unique but for the wrong reason.
Pickup an ICE DROP sachet water and you’ll notice the logo; a drop of water caught in a hangman’s noose.

At first glance, it looks rather interesting and if you switch your brain off, drinking the water would be the next step…but think about it a little more and the questions will start popping up;
why?
Why??
WHY???

Want a taste of moi?

Want a taste of moi?

Why a noose and a drop of water?
Why that imagery??
Why would any sane company even consider this as a logo for a consumable product???
Do they not know the symbolism attached to these elements?

Some elements shouldn’t even be seen in the same frame and I shudder to think of what possible reason they could have for placing water, the symbol of life, inside a noose, a symbol that carries with it decades of terror and intimidation…a tool for murder…an instrument of death…a symbol of pure unbridled racism.

Why oh why would a company do this?
Simple;
1. They have no focus groups.
2. The hamsters upstairs are obese from the lack of exercise and probably watching G-FORCE on infinite repeat.
3. Too stingy to actually contract a thinking artist/designer.
HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it’s acceptable…and besides, fusing some elements is a big “No No” in the design landscape.

But how can a company brazenly advertise and sell such a product without any known complaints?
Because the people drinking it aren’t aware or are just apathetic.
They drink it anyway because, “Hey pure water is pure water”.
Ghana is a very superstitious country but boy have we lost ourselves.

This post wants to create awareness so please let it.
If you know anyone even remotely associated with ICE DROP, ask them the meaning behind their logo: that’s my challenge to you.

If you get any info please let me know.
I’d like to know their dumb reasoning…and then blast them some more.

We need to send a message to all the companies out there;
“Think before you do anything!”

It’s time we make them accountable.
We have the rights, the choice and the money they so desperately need…let’s make them earn it.

 

PS: I’ve actually thought up meanings behind the ICE DROP logo and the best one I got was:
“Life from Death!”

Dumb right?
God please have mercy on Ghana.

 

PPS: Sorry for the terrible pictures. I took a shot at an electronic billboard…in a moving vehicle.
Will do better next time. 🙂

AIRTEL, WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

I don’t go looking for trouble…unless it comes begging, and neither do I sit still when it speeds at me.

Airtel probably didn’t get the memo, so they decided to play with my “Cellular Life” from the 5th of February to the 12th of February 2016.
Maybe they use a different calendar from the rest of us so their 1st April started on 5th February…but even so, April Fool’s day is at most a day’s long activity.
So Airtel, why did you play with me for a week?

What am I talking about?
Airtel “Temporarily Suspended” my phone number for one week…and their reason;
“We don’t know!”
It was bad enough my line was blocked but why do you not know what caused it?
…and why did it take 6 days to fix?
Well, it isn’t totally fixed…because even though I can now make and receive calls, I can’t send sms or receive them.
It is never that easy when it comes to resolving problems in Ghana.

Three times the people at Airtel told me the problem had been fixed but it wasn’t.
At one point, I could only receive calls but could do nothing from my side.
Well, if I’m to look at it that way then I guess it was a victory on their part…cos now I can make calls.
I guess they figured I don’t need sms.
A bloke with a smartphone don’t need no archaic method of communication.

 

ONE WEEK WAHALA (wahala = pandemonium)

Two days in, I realized I had to get a new sim. That was to be expected, but the calls I missed pissed me off to no end. Aside the normal and business calls I have come to expect, there were other more important calls I just had to receive.
I placed an item on sale on Tonaton and I needed it gone that weekend (5th – 7th).

I was so flustered with my Airtel wahala, I forgot to replace the “dead” number with the new one I purchased…and it wasn’t until Monday, the 8th February, the thought occurred to me.
My buyer probably called but as I’ve established, there was no way I could have received it…and I can’t find out who called during my exile.

I am tempted to sue…but they will just throw around a lot of disclaimers we the end-users have never seen before. Also, I don’t know any lawyers nor do I have the money to hire one.

Thinking my old sim had been decommissioned for good, I called a lot of my friends and business folks informing them I had acquired a new mobile number…only to call them back with my old line that it was a false alarm.

If this is how Airtel repays loyal customers, then I’m going back to Kasapa…wait…ummm…Expresso…wait wait…Sudatel…wait…screw this. Bottom line is, I’m leaving you.
I know it’s Valentine’s Day but I’m certain you’ll get over me.

In the end, did Airtel single me out? I don’t know…but the fact is, Airtel services have been dreadful for a very long time now, so I know for certain I am not the only one facing this problem…nor am I the only one with an axe to grind.

NB: Airtel stole GHC1 of my credit on my “dead” sim.
I don’t even want to get into that…they’ll just say it was a service charge.

PS: And GLO, go back to where you came from. No one wants you here, can’t you tell?
You are like a venereal disease; No one wants you…but you just won’t go away!

Gasmillah is a cheapskate (AKA…Stingy or Chisel)

I’ve never been one for Ghanaian local music; it is instrumentally monotonous, lyrically bland and totally devoid of any emotion. Ghanaian musicians have a proclivity for following the guy ahead but never really forging a unique path. Thus, the Ghanaian music scene is cluttered with very generic and same-sounding songs from all genres.
…to each his own right?

My stance on this subject won’t change…but there’ve been some few songs that have drawn out my inner Ghanaian…and one such song is Gasmilla’s Telemo.
To be quite honest, Telemo is a real joy to listen to but mostly because of its chorus.
The rest of the song isn’t half bad but it is the chorus that kept reeling me in.
It is nothing remarkably extraordinary but what can I say, it makes me wanna sing along;
If any musician can achieve that in any song, then that is a win in my books.

Moving on; prior to listening to Telemo I knew practically nothing about Gasmilla…(I believe we’ve established I’m a hermit)…but after a rather short search on the internet, I found all I needed about the Telemo Man.
Apparently he has been around far longer than I first thought, released other hit songs (3 points) and is somehow an alumnus of Wesley Grammar.

Gasmilla

“Hard work and Determination really does pay off”

After the success of Telemo (plus the fame), Gasmilla has been wounding people with a GH¢40,000 – GH¢80,000 appearance/performance fee.
Is that outrageous? Maybe.
Does he deserve it? Ummm…probably, but I guess it is his sworn duty as a sane Ghanaian musician to make as much money possible before his Telemo train grinds to a halt…because, unlike Sarkodie, a lot of Ghanaian musicians desperately try to stay financially afloat with their one-hit-songs. When the buzz fades away, they try recapturing the lightning in their bottles but when that doesn’t work, they either go into hiding with what’s left of their money or reinvent their music careers; Shatta Wale anybody?

Anyway, Gasmilla is making it “big” but his recent attempts at creating another hit song have so far been middling…but hey, he’s trying. I can’t fault him for that.

Now, on the 31st of October 2015, Gasmilla was invited to the Wesley Grammar Homecoming celebrations and was made a celebrity judge at the Talent Show.
After a very bizarre dance-off between four groups, the winner was picked.
Oh yeah…they danced off to Telemo.
I bet you didn’t see that coming.

IMG-20151025-WA003

The Wess-G HomeComing.

It was at this point Gasmilla irreparably broke my heart. He went up to the stage, sang a very off-key line from the Telemo chorus and then delivered a not-so-charismatic speech.
It went a little something like; “I admire talent and I always try my best to invest into the lives of anybody talented. It is because of this I’m giving GH¢200 to the winners.”
(Paraphrased…but very accurate.)

Obviously, the kids were excited (no surprises there) but I was so shocked I lost some (a lot) respect for Gasmilla.
I wonder how much he would have invested if he thought they didn’t have talent.
In this economy what can GH¢200 do?
Maybe they can get matching socks. That way we can easily tell they are all from one dancing group.
Or maybe get a celebratory fufu from Aunty Mansah’s chopbar.

GH¢40,000 – GH¢80,000 a show and our magnanimous Mr. Gasmilla dishes out GH¢200?
Unless he’s mismanaging his money, he has no excuse and quite honestly, GH¢200 is an insult.

“All os a fudden”, Telemo angers me every time I hear it.

Gasmilla, I’ve never been a fan and if I were, I’d chase you around town with a signpost reading, “You are a cheapskate!!”
Be a better role model and don’t be cheap.

Thank You.

PS: …You just know the kids won’t see a pesewa of that GH¢200.

NB: It appears Gasmilla is trying to make amends for his folly with “Gasmilla Father Christmas Show”.
The premise of this “show” is pretty simple; “put smiles on the faces of little children on the 26th of December, 2015 (Boxing Day).”
Children who participate in the games (held at Efua Sutherland Park) will win prizes ranging from bicycles to T-shirts…with one lucky child winning a scholarship to any school desired. Whether that child has the brains or not is completely up in the air.
For all its worth, I am glad he is “giving back” to society…even though he is gonna demand a gate fee for the “Christmas Show”.
Such irony.