What are friends and family for? We exist side by side to help one another—especially when one is in need. Perhaps, that’s where the adage, a friend in need is a friend indeed originates from.
But when it comes to the Ghanaian, it seems you would have a lasting relationship or friendship if you don’t have to even hold a conversation about money—let alone, lend or let your money fall into the pocket of those you call friends or family.
I’ve had more than enough experience with Ghanaians when it comes to money and dishonesty to reasonably conclude that, when a lot of Ghanaians take money from you, they never intend to pay back. And it’s, therefore, better not to lend or even transact businesses which require you to pay money to Ghanaian friends and family before the corresponding service or product reaches you.
I have spent the better part of my last 3 weeks chasing a Ghanaian I call a friend, to retrieve some over 6000 dollars from him—money I paid to him for a service which he disappointed me by not providing. This, coupled with my numerous past experiences and that of others have informed my decision to erect a conversation around this issue.
While in Ghana last month, I needed to make a purchase of 3 Business Class tickets, which were for a total of 6200 dollars—for our trip to Ukraine.
Instead of going straight to the British Airways’ website to buy the tickets as I always do, I decided to use a friend who runs a struggling Travel and Tour Business in London—so he can get some commission on the tickets, to support his dying business grow.
This friend provided me with a bank account in Ghana and I wired the payment to him. He provided me with 3 booking reference numbers, indicating that he had booked and paid for all the three tickets as ordered.
Now, when I got to the airport on the day of my travel with my wife, it emerged that he had only used his company’s Travel and Tour software to make a mere reservation on the tickets but had not made any payment to British Airways, despite having received full payment from us.
I was therefore compelled to buy new tickets from British Airways directly after I was informed by British Airways staff that the tickets that this friend booked were not paid for and therefore could not be used for the scheduled travel.
Imagine coughing out over 7000 dollars instantly, to buy 3 new Business Class tickets—just a few hours before boarding. I was livid but what even made it worse was that this friend wouldn’t pick my calls.
And when he finally picked it; he came up with a lame excuse—that he was out of reach and it would have taken him just a few minutes to issue payment to British Airways, had he been successfully reached.
What the heck? I issued you with payment more than a week before the trip. If you truly wanted to buy the tickets, that would have been done long ago.
So I asked him to kindly refund the money I paid to him as he did not make the purchases, which he agreed. But that was when the “wahala” started.
How difficult would it be for you to click refund or just go back to the account where the money was wired to, and issue it back? This turned into fights, lies, insults and multiple layers of confusion.
Eventually, he refunded about 4000 dollars—claiming he was going to travel to Ghana the next day and issue me the remaining from there. For another two weeks, it was the same routine of lies, messages and non-picking of my calls.
If he told me he had used the money and needed some little more time to issue me my refund, I would have been angry but would have understood. Yet, this friend kept promising me payment would reach me at 10am, then 2pm, and then by the close of the day—each day, he did this.
When I concluded that he did not cherish what I have for many years believed to be friendship, I called a Civil Litigation Lawyer friend at the Law Firm where I do two days a week work—and handed the issue to him, asking that a letter of intent to claim be served, followed by a lawsuit.
After the letter was drafted, I informed this so-called friend of my decision to sue him and his company—and guess what, he now magically paid the balance of 2200 dollars’ yesterday.
I wouldn’t do any business with him again and I wouldn’t even loosely call him a friend.
A lot of Ghanaian businesses are struggling without any patronage from friends and family due to our inherent dishonest positions when it comes to dealing with others, especially when money is involved.
I have in the past lend thousands of dollars to friends and family—and the majority never pays back. It even becomes a fight when demands are placed for repayments.
An Editor of one of Ghana’s biggest website shared with me what happened to him recently, in relation to the Ghanaian and money. He said he gave some cash to a certain gentleman who was going to his hometown to give to his aged grandmother. And the gentleman has since then disappeared. Actually, this Editor intended to pay the school fees of this disappeared gentleman’s children, as a means to support him. But that wouldn’t happen, because he has vanished with the small money he gave him to deliver to a woman, in her late 80s.
It’s sad that you cannot trust a fellow Ghanaian, be it a friend or family when it comes to money. It is true that things are hard but that’s not an acceptable reason for what a lot of Ghanaians do—sticking it in the back of others.
When a Ghanaian asks you to lend him or her money, only do so, if you can part away with that money without headaches because the probability that the person will pay you back is highly infinitesimal.
The most annoying part is when they pretend to have even forgotten that they owe you some money which is long overdue. And if you are not lucky, they will come back to try and borrow another.
What has your experience been when it comes to the Ghanaian and money?