200 sports fans duped $100,000?
Eight years after USA 1994 World cup soccer tournament, over 200 Ghanaians who were supposed to have travelled to the big world soccer fiesta are still counting their cost.
That number of people who registered to undertake the trip are still struggling to retrieve about $100,000 the paid to the defunct travel and tour company, Bestway Travel and Tour Limited, headed by the late Kwesi Eyeson, for the trip.
As the majority of the victims are still struggling to earn a living, some directors of the company are said to be fattening on over $100,000 (about 850m using today’s exchange rate) which they took from the people.
Months after the collection of the funds and the declaration of his company bankrupt and its subsequent liquidation, Eyeson, was able to put up a magnificent hotel, Applause Hotel at Shama in the Western Region.
Even though “Chronicle” cannot establish that the hotel was built up from the registration fees for the world cup trip, victims did not rule out that the hotel was built from their sweat.
It was established that Eyeson passed away on 17 August this year while his funeral was held early November. The paper gathered that in 1994, while plans were far advanced for the commencement of the big soccer tournament in far away USA, Bestway Travel and Tour Limited purchased space in the newspaper to advertise that it was organising a round trip to the USA for the big soccer event.
After the advert, a number of Ghanaians who were interested in the tournament rushed to the company’s office at Adabraka to register for the trip. Each member was mad to pay $4500 for the round trip from Accra, excluding the registration fee of $25,000 per head.
At the end of the deadline, 20 May 1994 Ghanaians registered to travel with the tour company for the tournament. Investigations revealed that most of the people who wanted to make the trip had to sell their movable and meet the financial requirement by Bestway.
Some even went to the extent of borrowing from their bankers and private trip lending companies, all for the trip. When all was set for the applicants’ departure, the management of Bestway started playing hide and seek and cancelled the trip but failed to repay the money to them.
Days after the cancellation, Eyeson could not be traced or located in Accra, leaving his client to comb from one corner to another in search of him but to no avail. At the end of hostilities, it turned out that the company had defrauded them.
Weeks later the company claimed that it was sending 200 Ghanaians to the USA soccer tournament folded up. The company was declared bankrupt with the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) as official liquidator which was charged to deal with the victim by ensuring that their monies were repaid.
Eight years after this decision, the RGD had not been able to make any headway in selling the property of the directors of the company to repay the victims. Sadly while a number of the victims were wallowing in an abject poverty most of the directors of the company are living comfortably and opulence. One of the victims last week told “Chronicle” that he would move heaven and earth to ensure that the property of the directors of Bestway were sold to defray the debt.