Aviation Ministry Denies Diverting Airports Disinfection Contract

Joseph Kofi Adda

The Ministry of Aviation has dismissed media reports alleging that a disinfection contract for the airports was diverted.

Reports had it that Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda and Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GCAL) had diverted the contract that had been awarded to LCB Worldwide for the disinfection of the Kotoka International Airport, Kumasi Airport and others.

Zoomlion recently disinfected the airports in the country, paying way for the resumption of domestic flights after the lifting of the coronavirus lockdown.

But after the exercise, the Minister and the Managing Director were accused of contract diversion.

However, in a statement, the Aviation Minister clarified that “the allegation is designed to force the Ministry and GACL to contract the company’s services under duress.”

He stated that in-as-much as the Ministry and its agencies welcome companies interested in any aspect of business in the sector which they qualify to undertake, especially the likes of LCB, which may have specialized products and services relevant to the operations of the aviation industry, the Ministry and its agencies will not countenance any engagement that does not go through due process as provided for under the Public Procurement Act.

By the standards and procedures of the sector Ministry and its agencies, he said, LCB has no contractual relationship with GACL, and the accusation of contract diversion is blatantly false.

In order to address this unfounded allegation, he said, the Ministry of Aviation wishes to respond as follows:

  1. The recent media interviews granted by Messrs. David Kwadwo Amoateng and Nana Poku, who are the Greater Accra Regional Branch Chairman and General Secretary of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) respectively, were ill-informed and calculated to cause disaffection for the two officials;
  2. Matters of aviation policy and airport management principles and standards as well as internationally approved procedures are highly specialized subjects that Messrs. Amoateng and Poku are not sufficiently qualified to make pronouncements or pass judgment on, especially regarding the ability, management capacity and competence of senior management officers of the sector, as they are not the appointing authority to question the positions of these two senior government officials;
  3. The Minister for Aviation has demonstrated excellence since assuming leadership of the sector in 2018. On the Minister’s watch, Ghana attained an Effective Implementation score of 89.89%, the highest by an African country at the time, after an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in April 2019. Indeed, he noted, at ICAO’s 40th Triennial Assembly in Montre?al, Canada, in October 2019, this feat was duly recognized when Ghana became the only country after Qatar to receive awards for aviation safety and security, with Mr. Adda receiving the distinguished honour of being the first Ghanaian Aviation Minister to address an ICAO Assembly. On airport management, Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport (KIA), in a historic first, received two prestigious awards during this year’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards by Airport Council International (ACI), the global trade representative of the world’s airports, he says.

KIA topped the ranking as Africa’s ‘Best Airport by Size and Region’ whiles Terminal 3 was named the continent’s ‘Most Improved’ airport, he noted.

“These landmark achievements were recorded under the sectoral oversight and managerial leadership of Messrs. Adda and Kwakwa, respectively;

  1. For the avoidance of doubt, we state emphatically that neither the Minister for Aviation nor the MD of GACL has diverted any contract for LCB, and may we also add that the latter has no contract with either MoA or GACL to undertake any form of disinfection or installation of any types of gadgets, as the Governing Board of GACL has not approved such a contract for LCB;
  2. We nonetheless concede that LCB has a contract with the Ministries of Transport and Health, and the scope of work to undertake that contract, as we understand it, is squarely for the disinfection of the ports of Tema and Takoradi, and not airports, which are not under the purview of the two ministries which entered into the contract with LCB;
  3. We state, however, that LCB had earlier offered to undertake a similar exercise at a cost of Nineteen Million United State Dollars (US$19million), recoverable through a $20 charge per round trip to be borne by air passengers.”

The Governing Board of GACL did not find this acceptable and turned down the offer, as it would further add to a higher ticket cost for travelers, he said.

“To help appreciate the financial implication of this at today’s exchange rate, LCB, after investing this initial amount, would be drawing from passengers, the equivalent of GH? 325million per year.”

” These margins are guaranteed in perpetuity, as the proposal stipulates no term limit. This runs contrary to the guidance and standards established by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ICAO on aviation-related charges;

  1. Following Government’s lifting of the coronavirus lockdown, it became necessary to prepare the airports to commence domestic flights after airlines expressed their readiness to begin operations.”

” An alternative means was sought, using laid down government policy and due process to engage a company with the requisite capacity to carry out this rapid exercise;

  1. The disinfection undertaken to enable the domestic flights to commence on 1st May, 2020, which had been delayed for two weeks to ensure that the laid down health protocols were followed, does not in any way prevent LCB from continuing with its bid to make installations of appropriate gadgets, subject to approval by the Governing Board of GACL, and giving consideration to costs and related matters.”

“It is most unfortunate that the principle of fairness and objectivity that must inform the practice of journalism is totally lacking in this matter, as this discredited allegation is being propagated by a handful of media houses which have yet to hear the Ministry’s side of the matter.”

By Melvin Tarlue