Cape Town – Tourism agencies supplying air tickets and accommodation to members of Parliament have been accused of collusion by the Competition Commission in a tender that is worth almost R100 million.
Tourvest Holdings and Trigon Travel are accused of colluding when bidding for the tender in 2015.
The winning bidder would have to process an estimated 28000 transactions for an annual spend of R100m during the contracting period.
The commission, which investigates contraventions of the Competition Act before referring such cases to the tribunal for prosecution, claims that the relationship between Tourvest and Trigon created an incentive for them to coordinate their bids in respect of the tender.
The commission said there was no other reasonable inference that could be drawn, other than that the companies submitted the same bid as a result of collusion.
The companies’ legal representatives delivered closing arguments before the tribunal yesterday, following the testimony of a final witness.
In an exception application that was filed year by Tourvest Holdings and Trigon Travel, the Competition Commission alleged that in 2015, Parliament issued a tender to the travel industry for the provision of travel services for members of Parliament.
The service included the booking of flights and accommodation.
Sixteen companies submitted tenders among them Tourvest and Trigon.
The commission’s case was that the respondents had reached an agreement to fix prices and tender collusively.
The commission claimed they submitted an identical price for their transaction.
It alleged the companies had the same BEE status and the same procurement level of recognition.
The commission alleged the two companies were related to one another.
Trigon is owned by the Travel Assignment Group, which was alleged to be a franchisee of Tourvest.
Tourvest and Trigon have denied the allegations.
Trigon said in a statement: “We are currently defending these allegations at the tribunal and can’t comment further as the matter is currently sub judice.”
Tourvest chief executive Morne Du Preez strongly disputed all the allegations.
“There are no facts on the case and our stance is that we have done nothing wrong and we maintain that.
“The commission has a very weak case and nothing further has come to light,” Du Preez said.
No date for a decision was made by late Thursday afternoon when closing arguments were done.