Tour Operators Contradict Afriyie Ankrah

Travel and Tour Agencies which transported Ghanaian fans to the 2014 Brazil World cup had no documentary contract. The contracts were awarded them by the former Minister of Youth and Sports by word of mouth.

Chief Executive Officer of Travel Matters, Ivan Cudjoe and Director of Finance of Kenpong Travel and Tours, George Ernest Amoako, told the Commission of enquiry into the Brazil fiasco that they neither signed a contract with the Ministry nor formed a consortium with the Sports Ministry to airlift Ghanaian supporters to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

This revelation, in sharp contrast to what the former Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and Project Coordinator for the 2014 World Cup, Fred Darko told the Commission last week, that a consortium was formed by the three travel and tour companies after the Akosombo retreat, to enable them discharge their assignment of taking fans to Brazil.

According to Mr. Cudjoe, at the Akosombo retreat, each company was given specific allocation with respect to the number of persons each agency should airlift to Brazil.

By that arrangement, Kenpong, African Origin and Travel Matters were to airlift 270 fans, 270 fans and 100 fans respectively.

He told the Commission that, his company, Travel Matters went into a joint partnership with another travel and tour operator, Letina Travel and Tour, in search of clients because his allocation of 100 people by the ministry was far below his expectation.

Mr. Cudjoe said he wasn’t happy with his slot but said did not communicate it to the Minister and the Implementation committees that he was withdrawing but went ahead with his plans of chartering three flights to airlift individuals and corporate bodies.

He added that the Ministry later contacted him to help airlift all the 612 supporters when the other agencies failed to deliver. Meanwhile, earlier submissions by the former Minister of Sports and the Project Coordinator have it that, Travel Matters was lead partner to a consortium that was formed because of its capacity to charter flights and to make advance payment.

He added that Travel Matters was approached by the other two appointed travel agencies, Kenpong and African Origin, to absorb their allocation of fans, since they did not have flights. This was what led to the formation of the consortium, according to Afriyie Ankrah and Fred Darko.

Mr. Cudjoe, however, insisted that no consortium was formed at any point in time during the preparations towards the 2014 World Cup. “There was no consortium formed,” he told the Commission. Kenpong Travel and Tours also collaborated this claim

When asked by the Chairman for the Commission as to whether he has documents to that effect, he responded in the negative. He explained that all their deliberations and everything with the Ministry of Youth and Sports were done verbally.

Surprised at the submission, Justice Dzamefe queried, “as a businessman do you airlift people by word of mouth” Justice Dzamefe, who could not believe that such serious contracts were not done on paper by the Ministry of Youth and Sports exclaimed: “Jesus Christ!!!!”.

Mr. Cudjoe told the Commission that his chartered flight eventually airlifted all the 612 supporters of the Black Stars to Brazil. He explained that it was the ministry which contracted him to airlift the 612 supporters and never had any agreement with any other agencies.

Justice Dzamefe again asked him why he chartered and decided to charge differently for business class and economy, since he had control over the flight and could have charged only $2500 as quoted in his advertisement. Mr. Cudjoe answered, “I am a businessman so I used the opportunity to make profit”.

Meanwhile Director of Finance of Kenpong Travel and Tours, George Ernest Amoako, refuted the account given to the Commission by Chief Executive Officer of Travel Matters, Ivan Cudjoe, to the effect that he had approached him (Mr. Cudjoe) and made an advance payment of $200,000 to carry his clients for them.