The Failures of A.M.A and the EPA

In September of 2015, a massive scandal hit the automotive industry that sent shockwaves around the world, but somehow, a great(er) portion of Africa felt nothing. The diesel versions of Volkswagen (VW) cars cheated emission tests by spewing out clean(er) test results… thus, fooling authorities into allowing these cars roam the streets as though they were indeed environmentally-friendly. It’s no secret that diesel vehicles have always produced more pollutants than their petrol counterparts.

The increase in the car population, and the need for more fuel-efficient cars, which diesel cars have down to a science, has pushed manufacturers to explore creative ways to beat the system, amid growing reports of a steady increase in global pollution. Making money and fulfilling a perceived need is, by and large, the reason companies exist… so who are we to judge when VW breaks some rules, right? Especially when other companies practically made the rule book.

 

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It turns out what VW did was a big No-No, so aside lawsuits and sanctions, VW had to recall all affected cars. This cost them billions of dollars and invariably, hurt their brand image as well.

So, whiles the rest of the world was reeling from this shock, and rightly so, countries in Africa (save for South Africa) could do nothing about it.
Days turned to weeks, and weeks into months, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A) and VW dealerships in my country – Ghana – stayed mute about this serious environmental issue, which didn’t just affect Europe and America, but Africa too. Every single day I would see “defective” VW vehicles roaming the streets of Ghana and wonder if the drivers cared even a little about the environment they were killing.

But alas, why blame them?
They are just unwitting consumers driving around in cars that should have complied with every regulation… but don’t. I cannot in good conscience blame “innocent” consumers, but I will throw a lot of blame on the A.M.A, EPA and VW.

When a scandal that big hits, a press release is rolled out to all media platforms; the first phase of damage control. The local and international authorities then follow suit in order to assure the concerned public the matter has been flagged under “very important”.
Well, let’s assume the organizations in Ghana at the time of the VW Emissions scandal had more pressing issues to deal with, because when the scandal hit, we got nothing from them.

I guess the health and welfare of Africans does not matter as much as those in Europe and America.

VW, the mastermind behind the disaster, funny enough, can rest a little easy knowing that a lot of their “defective” cars in Ghana were not sold through their licensed dealerships, but shipped from different countries by individuals or unauthorized road-side dealerships.
Press VW hard enough and trust that lawyers would crawl out of the woodwork to pull out an incomprehensible clause that would compel VW to only deal with customers who bought cars through the authorized dealerships.
That’s how international conglomerates operate.

For A.M.A and EPA though, we cannot give them such a long leash… but to even think they would crack down on the VW scandal when it happened was incredibly naive on my part.
Why?
If A.M.A and EPA, after all these years can’t put a handle on the chimney-smoke-spewing cars polluting the air, what the heck can they do about a bunch of VW’s killing us slowly with invisible air?

 

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Ever-present… ready to tag your uncompleted building in red paint.

 

From green to black smoke, one can’t go a day in Ghana without seeing all manner of vehicles sputtering out toxic smoke. As if making us wheeze ain’t enough, vehicular fumes contain a boatload of hazardous pollutants that have been identified and listed by… wait for it… the EPA. No! That isn’t the EPA in Ghana, but does that matter? Shouldn’t they all be as active and vigilant irrespective of location?
They have slowly adopted the Ghanaian mentality; it ain’t my problem if someone else can solve it.

So, how do these smokey cars pass through the Roadworthy test and come out with a seal of approval? Beats my mind.
But, according to Regulation 33 in the Road Traffic Offences Regulations (1974 LI 952),
No person shall drive a motor vehicle which emits exhaust fumes in such quantities
as to be a hazard or annoyance to road users or pedestrians.
There you have it; it’s actually very illegal to drive around town in a smokey vehicle, yet the police pay no mind, ever ready on the other hand to take off their authority for a measly Gh¢5 or less.

There are so many cars in Accra, and so much traffic as a result… forcing us to sit still and inhale the unholy concoction of chemicals these cars happily cough out for our enjoyment.
We risk lung cancer, headaches, runny eyes and other serious diseases if this issue is not tackled and/or resolved.

The A.M.A and EPA are effectively powerless against this and yet claim to defend our environment. How could they, when they can’t even shutdown a single factory endangering the lives of people living in the La Dadekotopon Municipality of the Greater Accra Region. Edisaw Company Ltd, the factory in question, has been oppressing the unlucky people living in close proximity with thick clouds of smoke. The EPA shut them down in February of 2018 only to have Edisaw spring up again two weeks later. This remarkable display of ineptitude has unsurprisingly, forced the residents affected by the manufacturing processes of Edisaw to sue the EPA and Municipal Assembly for failing – rather disastrously – at their jobs.

 

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It is easy to lay down the rules but hard to put into practice, isn’t it?

 

I hope they win the lawsuit; too long have Ghanaians been content with mediocrity.
We’d rather talk about troops invading our country than fix the broken infrastructure every government in power promises to rectify.

The inter-connectivity of government agencies ensures that, when one arm fails, the rest will all fall short.

But Wait! Ghanaians burn rubbish all the time, so what’s new right?
AH! God Bless Ghana.

If there isn’t a fundamental change in how we deal with these half-competent entities, they will always chop our monies, hide in expensive houses and fail us every single time.

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.