Litina Travel and Tours Ltd has dragged the National Sports Authority to court after it was denied a contract to transport Ghana’s contingent to the All African Games in Congo Brazzaville.
Results of a competitive tendering process by National Sports Authority show that Africa Origin Travel and Trading Ltd scored 46 points while Litina scored 86 points.
But the winner of the bid was forced to work with the loser, it has been revealed.
Joy Sports' Gary Al-Smith, who has been investigating this story for the past month, read portions of official documents from the National Sports Authority's tender committee on Monday's Super Morning Show.
The details of the 24-paged document, included official results of the bid.
"The consolidated scores of the evaluated Technical Proposals are given in the table below. Tenders were required to achieve a minimum score of 75% of the allotted marks," the Technical Evaluation Report of the National Sports Authority said.
It went on: "Out of the two technical proposals submitted, one attained more than the 75% of the allotted marks."
The report, dated August 19, 2015, says: "It is recommended that Litina Travel and Tours Limited be invited for the opening of their Financial Proposals. The firm exceeded the minimum qualifying mark of 75."
Despite this clear directive, Joy Sports understands that high-ranking officials at the Ministry of Youth and Sports looked the other way while Africa Origin Travel was given the go-ahead to airlift the fans.
The Super Morning Show also played an interview in which Al-Smith speaks to Joe Kpenge, Director General of the the National Sports Authority.
In the interview, Kpenge denies that Africa Origin Travel and Tours was the only company that airlifted the Team Ghana contingent to Congo Brazzaville.
"No, Africa Origin was not the only company. They did the airlifting together with Litina Travel and Tours because they are working together," he says in the recorded interview.
But Joy Sports understands that Managing Director of Litina Travel and Tours, Ernestina Abroquah (pictured in main photo) held a meeting with the Sports Minister Dr. Mustapha Ahmed where she was pressurized to work with the loser.
This information, contrary to what Kpenge says, was confirmed by the lawyer of Litina Travel and Tours – who also stated that his client refused the offer to partner with Africa Origin.
“Why has somebody won but another person has got the contract…our right has been taken away from us”, Counsel for Litina, Nsiah Asare explained on Joy FM Super Morning Show Monday.
"I told my client that she has the right under law to have been the only one to have been awarded the contract and so she did not need to partner anyone."
As it stands, Litina (represented by Sory-at-Law) wants the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court to declare that the conduct of the NSA breaches Article 23 of the Constitution 1992.
The article states that: "Administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law and persons aggrieved by the exercise of such acts and decisions shall have the right to seek redress before a court or other tribunal".
Based on this, Litina is suing the National Sports Authority for damages amounting to $380,000, among other claims.
Nsiah Asare says the NSA cannot whimsically and capriciously award a contract despite provisions spelt out in the Public Procurement Law.
AFRICA ORIGIN'S PART
The Joy Sports team had, since August 31, sought the confirmation or denial of Africa Origin Travel and Tours, who refused to respond to the allegations.
The company, who were also key in the story of how Ghanaian fans were airlifted to Brazil for the World Cup, have a history of transporting large numbers of supporters.
In their tender forms submitted to the NSA for this particular contract for Congo Brazzaville, the company states that it has a track record dating back to the 2010 World Cup, All Africa Games 2011, 2012 Olympic Games, 2013 Commonwealth Games, and 2014 World Cup.
According to Joy Sports' Al-Smith, this case has echoes of the 2014 World Cup hearings led by Justice Senyo Dzamefe.
"The kinds of things we are hearing now, where so-called laid down procedures are blatantly swerved because of orders from above, are not new," he said on the Joy SMS.
"You will recall that when we heard evidence from the Dzamefe Commission, similar orders from above were key reasons why the airlifting of supporters to Brazil went so wrong. And that is why this court case will be instructive, because the court's ruling – no matter whose favour it is in – will help the procurement structures of the sports ministry to be strengthened," Al-Smith noted.
The next court date for the case is to be announced in due course.
Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtag