Civil Business Man meets Entrepreneurial Bureaucrat:

After the initial discouraging visit to Sam at DVLA I was left with the command to return with Mr. Addy, the person from whom I had apparently purchased the Landy but whom I had never met.    I was not confident it would lead anywhere but I called Gomez, who actually gave me a number for Addy, who I called immediately.  I was unnerved a bit because the voice I got when I called Andy sounded just like Gomez, it was really wierd talking to this guy as Addy when I really thought it was Gomez pretending he was Addy.  At any rate, he did say we could go to DVLA together, he suggested the following Wednesday morning, and asked me to call him when I was on my way and he could meet me there.   That in itself is problematic because depending where he lived it could take well over an hour for him to get to DVLA so I called him well before I left and he said he was  “on his way”.    I had leaned that that “on my way” is a very elastic concept in Ghana, and could mean they are thinking about leaving an adjacent town soon, or that they are thinking about leaving soon and have three stops to make en route.  It was also pouring rain that morning, and traffic was bad.   Despite this I arrived at 8:30 and spent a very uncomfortable hour sitting outside Sam’s office alone, managing work email on my blackberry and wondering what I would do if Andy did not show.    Until a husky,  distinguished looking man sporting a colourful African print shirt came in.  He did not smile, but acknowledged me right away, shook my hand and said “shall we go in?”  We had to wait for Sam to finish with someone, during which time Addy was on his phone constantly.  Then when we were invited  in we sat down in two little chairs in the corner of the small office and watched Sam  stamp some more other people’s forms and bark orders to staff  for five minutes before he turned to me and said, “so where are we at…did we pull your file?”  That would be the file we had been looking for for two months.   He sent someone looking for it and while we were waiting Sam handed us each a sheet of paper that extolled the virtues of a fuel additive called “EXtreme”.   When I asked where you get this wonder product he reached under his desk and pulled out a boxful of sachets and bottles.    Mr. Addy and I both bought some, Addy said he would give it to his ‘engineers” to test and perhaps come back for more.

Both were absolutely professional and efficient from that point.  Sam turned to Addy and said he was very pleased to meet him, that he had seen his name on many Form Cs.    Mr. Addy explained that he turned over hundreds of vehicles in a year , and that in fact he had come to DVLA many times.   Sam asked him what the ‘S’ for his given name stood for (Solomon) and asked Mr. Addy to please put his name in full on all the forms in future so he knew who he was dealing with.  “Obviously you are a man of some status”.   Sam explained that he wanted to execute both transactions simultaneously,  from EPA to Addy and from Addy to me, and to do that he needed not only  the Form Cs, but also a letter from Addy to DVLA saying had sold the vehicle to me and requesting the transfer of ownership.     It was at this point that we learned that the signed Form C Gomez had given me was forged, Addy simply said, hey, that is not my signature, where did you get that?  No problem, says Sam, we can do another now.   Then Addy went off and said he would be back in five minutes with the letterSam needed to formalize the transfer to me.

At that point Sam said he needed to see the vehicle.  I had not brought the Defender with me because I was reluctant to show it  in the now quite impressive restored condition to anyone having some official role in the transfer unless I absolutely had to lest they see some advantage in slowing the sale.  In this instance I had  anticipated the possibility of being  asked to present it and Laura was on standby to bring it and she had it on the DVLA lot in 10 minutes.   Sam  went out himself, in the rain, to confirm the chassis number located on the brake servo under the bonnet.   By that time Addy had brought the letter that he must have had typed under a tree in the rain somewhere, signed two Form Cs and left.   We still did not have an EPA signature on the Form C  transferring ownership from EPA to Mr. Addy, so  I quickly volunteered to  get the requisite signature because I had some contacts there through my work, and because by this point I was so relieved that Solomon Addy was a real person with a sense of responsibility and a degree of interpersonal skills.  It was my pleasure to go to EPA to do that part and save him the trouble.   I could now see the light at the end of that long tunnel and would not have to throw myself from the rocks in the ocean off sewage hill.