Ras Mubarak Drags Asky Airlines To Court Over Missing Bag
The Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Abdul Mohammed Mubarak, alias Ras Mubarak, has filed a writ at the Fast Track Division of the Accra High Court against Asky Airlines Ghana, over his missing luggage.
The writ, which was issued by the lawyer for the Plaintiff, George Tetteh Wayoe, is seeking specific damages to the tune of GH¢13, 829.71 for the missing items.
He is also seeking general damages in compensation amounting to GH¢50, 000.00 for the great distress and discomfort caused him (Ras Mubarak) by the negligence of Asky Airlines, the Defendant.
Furthermore, Plaintiff is also praying to the court to grant him punitive damages to the tune of GH¢20, 000.00 as a wakeup call on the defendant company to realise the high degree international diligence required of the airline considering their mode operation and other remedy the Honourable Court deems fit.
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
In the plaintiff’s statement of claim to the court dated 27th March 2014 which is in possession of The Chronicle, it stated that Ras Mubarak (Plaintiff) had to attend an International Youth Summit in Dakar, Senegal, on behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sports and hence, had his flight booked for his destination with the defendant company, Asky Airlines.
Ras Mubarak, therefore, booked a flight with Asky Airlines on 12th January, 2014, with booking reference 2L2YUG after purchasing a ticket from Satguru Travel and Tour Services, a ticket agent for the Asky Airlines, according to the statement of claim.
The Plaintiff’s airline ticket was KP/ETKT 032 4613066269. He departed from the Kotoka International Airport in Accra for Lome from Terminal 1 on 13th January, 2014, at 11:55am on flight KP 023 Asky, De Havilland DHC-8 Das en route to Dakar in Senegal.
The lawyer for the Plaintiff, George Tetteh Wayoe, added that Ras Mubarak checked in with his luggage at the Kotoka International Airport with the Aviation Handling Services’ Baggage tag 0000 XH 632687, weighing 1/017kg.
He said: “The Plaintiff then took his seat in seat number 03L with sequence number 013 as indicated on his Aviation Handling Services’ boarding passes.
“The flight was nonstop from Accra to Lome. The Plaintiff continued his journey from Lome at about 13:20pm for Dakar transiting through Bamako and Conakry and arriving in Dakar around 19:20pm on board flight KP 048-Asky, Boeing 737 All Series Passenger”.
The Plaintiff, who is the Acting CEO of NYA, narrated in his writ of summons that to his utmost surprise, upon arrival in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, his luggage was nowhere to be found.
The Plaintiff immediately contacted officials of Asky Airlines in Dakar for collection of his luggage, but was instantly assured of collection the next day after all passenger luggage had been sorted out, whereupon the plaintiff was given a receipt to that effect with number 01132015 and CT01 BN22HWX.
According to Mr. Mubarakl, he made a follow up to the offices of Asky Airlines the following day, 14thJanuary, 2014, where officials of the airlines once again pleaded with him that they were still tracking his luggage and that he would surely receive his luggage, latest by the close of business the next day, January 15, 2014.
The assurances made above made the government representative (Ras Mubarak) at the summit continued to wear the very cloth he embarked his journey with from Accra for some two days and more in Dakar.
According to him, such an ordeal was a real embarrassment for an official on an international assignment.
Mr. Mubarak told The Chronicle that he stayed in Dakar for his entire trip without his luggage and did not really partake in the summit he was supposed to attend because he had lost all his prepared documents and contributions coupled his psychological distress, hence, making the trip a complete waste.
To Mr. Mubarak, it was very sad to say that at the time of filing the writ, the defendant company (Asky Airlines Ghana) had still not provided the Plaintiff’s missing luggage. But three days after the writ was filed, the defendant airline produced the luggage.
However, the Plaintiff said since the matter was already before the court, it was better for the Defendant to go through the legal process to settle the matter amicably.
The Plaintiff’s statement of claim was quick to reveal that besides the real embarrassment and psychological distress he suffered, the situation has made him lost interest in embarking on such important trips.
“The problem has now given the Plaintiff a traveling dilemma, regarding the weight of luggage to take on a trip to determine whether or not he reduces the weight of his traveling bag in order to get on board a flight with his luggage, to protect his belongings,” the writ of summons in part stated.
The defendant company (Asky Airlines Ghana) has a number of transit routes in its flight operations from Accra to Dakar, going through Lome, Bamako and Conakry before touching down in Dakar. This current schedule can easily promote the situation of passengers’ luggage getting missing in transit.
The Plaintiff presents that the defendant airline had a duty to keep safe his luggage and present it to him in a safe condition upon arrival in Dakar, especially where luggage of business class passengers were treated as priority by the issuance of priority tags on them.
This obligation on the defendant company mentioned-above was and has still not been met to the detriment of the Plaintiff, according to lawyer George Tetteh Wayoe.
“Even at the time of filing this writ, Asky Airlines Ghana is taking a hoity-toity posture in resolving the matter including ignoring letters, emails, and phone calls among other things.
“That the act and omission by the Defendant company complained of by the Plaintiff is one of gross negligence on the part of the Airline company, where particulars of the Defendant company’s negligence complained of includes; the airline’s careless handling of the plaintiff’s luggage for it to get missing; having a lackadaisical approach in their quest to retrieve the Plaintiff’s missing luggage and subsequently taking a hoity-toity posture in resolving the matter; and Asky Airlines Ghana having a weak monitoring system for the safety of passenger’s luggage, considering its mode of operation of various transit routes.
ASKY AIRLINES RESPONSE
When The Chronicle contacted the Country Manager of Asky Airlines Ghana, Worlanyo Afadzinu, confirmed the lawsuit filed by Ras Mubarak and said this was not the first time that a passenger’s luggage had got missing on a flight. We are preparing to meet Ras Mubarak and his lawyer in court, he stated.
Asky Airlines Ghana which is a subsidiary of Asky Airlines is the Pan African Airline which flies from Accra several times per week. It also has a wide connection to other African countries via Lome, Togo. It also has a wider international network with its strategic partner, Ethiopian Airlines.
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