Col. Gbevlo-Lartey
Col. Gbevlo-Lartey

THE ACTING National Security Coordinator, Lt. Col. Gbevlo Lartey (Rtd) has finally succeeded in carrying out his intentions of terminating the contract of some private security companies providing security services at the Kotaka International Airport (KIA).

This follows a decision by the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) to terminate the contracts of two private security companies that had been operating at the airport for the past 3 years, without reason.

Somewhere in February 2009, Gbevlo Lartey issued a directive asking the various state institutions operating at the airport not to renew contracts they had with the various security companies operating there.

Though these companies had managed to maintain sanity at Ghana’s main entry point which was once bedeviled with serious thefts, the National Security Coordinator exerted pressure on GACL to terminate the contracts of the companies without reason.

He is thus believed to have influenced the decision to terminate the contract of the two companies since he was said to have forced the new Board of the GACL, which is chaired by Deputy Majority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament (MP) for Mfantsiman East, George Kuntu Blankson, to take the decision.

Subsequently, the Board also caused the dismissal of the Managing Director of the GACL, Elizabeth Annor Sackey and her deputy Yaw Kwakwa.

Both were relieved of their appointments without any specific reason since none was stated in their dismissal letters.

This, according to sources, was because they were appointed by the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

The duo has since been replaced with Mrs. Doreen Owusu Fianko and J. Q Amedior, who are said to have strong links in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), as the new Managing Director and Deputy respectively.

Sources close to the GACL said part of the reasons Mr. Kwakwa in particular was booted out was because he insisted on the strict adherence to tender processes as stated in the country’s Procurement Law and for the contract to be awarded to any security company that met the standards set for the job in spite of its political affiliation.

He was said to have made this suggestion at a time when the authorities including Mr. Gbevlo Lartey and the GACL Board were said to be making frantic efforts to circumvent laid-down rules in favour of their preferred choice of company, Sohin Security, a company which has virtually no experience in handling security issues at the airport.

But Mrs Fianko says there was nothing wrong with the termination of the contract of the two companies, though it was subject to renewal.

She made the statement when DAILY GUIDE contacted her for her contribution to the story.

‘It’s not termination, the contract has ended. There was a tender whoever isif they are not there then it means they didn’t win the tender,’ she said.

Attempts to speak to Mr Gbevlo Lartey proved unsuccessful since his phone was said to be switched off or out of coverage area.

DAILY GUIDE sources at the Ministry of Interior have indeed confirmed that Sohin, which is owned by a strong member of the ruling party, Solomon Adelaquaye, managed to secure an operating license as a recognized private security company only three months ago.

Meanwhile, one of the basic requirements, as stated on the tender document, was for a company to have 6years experience before it would be awarded the contract.

Barely a month ago, a similar move was undertaken by the management of GACL which led to the termination of a contract with advertising company Alliance Media, which was operating advertising concessions at the KIA, because it was said to have been awarded the contract during the NPP regime.

The company has since sued the GACL together with Speedmasters Limited, a new company which has taken over the advertising concessions from the plaintiff.

According to Alliance Media, the GACL had acted in contravention of the Public Procurement Act to the extent that it paved the way for the second defendant, Speedmasters, to be in gross violation of the same Act and the terms of the request for proposal.

The company is therefore praying the court to give an order of mandamus to compel the GACL to award its advertising concession on contract to the plaintiff, for being the best offer and responsible tender.

Now that the contracts of the companies have been terminated, several employees of the affected security companies are expected to be laid off.

This is likely to have a telling effect on an economy that is struggling to be on its feet. The situation has compelled some individuals and group of persons operating at the airport to raise questions about the prudence of the decision.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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