Tourvest has, “in the strongest terms” denied any wrongdoing regarding “collusive tendering” (or price fixing) and has instructed its counsel to urgently prepare a Notice of Appeal.
This is from Judi Nwokedi, Chief Operating Officer Tourvest, who responded to Tourism Update’s request for comment with a holding statement. It follows news from the Competition Tribunal that it had found Tourvest and Siyazisiza Trust guilty of contravening Section 4(1)(b)(iii) of the Competition Act and ordered Tourvest to pay a fine of R9.18 million (€532 000).
Yesterday (Monday, October 11), the Competition Commission of South Africa welcomed the decision by the Competition Tribunal, stating: “The contravention related to bid rigging in respect of a tender issued by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) in February 2013, for leasing three opportunities of arts, crafts and curio retail spaces at OR Tambo International Airport for a period of five years.”
According to the Competition Commission, Tourvest and the Siyazisiza Trust concluded a Memorandum of Understanding before submitting separate bids for one of the three tenders issued by Acsa.
Nwokedi, however, reiterated that Tourvest’s legal counsel had advised that the Commission’s case was incorrect in law and in fact
“At this stage it is premature to issue a detailed statement. Suffice to say that throughout our 24-year history as Southern Africa’s leading integrated tourism group, Tourvest is, and has always been, rigorously committed to the principles of transparency, integrity and transformation in all its operations,” she said.
According to her, at the time, Tourvest viewed this tender as an opportunity to facilitate entry for South Africa’s rural crafting community into airport retailing at OR Tambo International.
“The Trust had strong enterprise development credentials but did not meet the mandatory requirements without Tourvest’s support,” said Nwokedi.
“At all times there was full disclosure of our arrangement. A more detailed statement addressing the Tribunal’s finding will be forthcoming once we have had sight of the full judgement.”