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Tender wars derail Sh1.5b Kenya Bureau of Standards contract

By , People Daily Digital
Friday, January 14th, 2022 09:00 | 2 mins read
Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini. Photo/File

A lucrative tender at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has been dogged by controversy that has forced the contract to be postponed multiple times last year and left the standard’s agency on the spot.

People Daily has established that at least 13 firms have now submitted bids for the multi-billion-shilling motor vehicle inspection contract, including two firms that are fighting from being blacklisted from doing business in Kenya.

The Sh1.5 billion contract was first advertised in January 2021 but was never awarded under unclear circumstances even though contracts for the firms undertaking inspections for Kenya abroad had lapsed.

Postponement

Over the last three months, Kebs has postponed the tender at least thrice. 

The agency had announced that documents for the restricted tender were to be published on November 24, 2021. However, this was pushed to November 30 with the tender deadline being set for January 6, 2022.

Kebs managing irector Bernard Njiraini has since pushed the tender deadline to January 27 following a request by one of the bidders.

“Due to the new Covid-19 variant (Omicron) and the festive season, the travel restrictions imposed by airlines have made it difficult to beat the tender deadline of 6th January, 2022. Secondly most offices are closed for the holidays.

We hereby request for the extension of the tender closing date,” the request seen by PD reads in part.

Among the firms invited to bid for the contract include East Africa Automobile Inspection company (EAA) that has been debarred by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) from doing business in Kenya.

The firm was debarred for three years and the decision gazetted by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

However, EAA dashed to court and obtained orders staying the debarment pending the hearing and determination of the suit. 

EAA was debarred for alleged falsification of documents in previous contract.

The decision to debar EAA was arrived at after various investigative agencies including the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in conjunction with Interpol, the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee and the Auditor General separately concluded that the firm was involved in falsification of its bid documents.

EAA was debarred in June last year after PPARB ruled that the company forged documents in different bids placed between 2011 to 2019.

Also invited to bid for the contract is Auto Terminal Japan Ltd (ATJ). 

The company is embroiled in vicious court cases with PPARB fighting debarment for alleged falsification of documents.

The Auditor General, the DCI and PIC also alleged forgery of bid documents by ATJ to win previous multi-billion shillings Kebss contracts for motor vehicle inspection. 

Other companies that have been invited in the restricted tender include Japanese based Aichi Daihatsu.

The company was registered in Kenya in 2015 under Jumbo DAA Kenya Limited.

ISO certification

Jumbo DAA is a company importing and exporting vehicles from Japan to Kenya and its neighbouring countries.

Other firms include Quality Inspection Services Japan (QISJ), Japan Inspection Services, Telova, Jurong Inspection Centre (JIC), Wilna, Geochem, Vinstar, TIS, JAAI and Five Blocks.

For the first time, KEBS has insisted that the tender would only be awarded to firms with Type A  ISO certification.

Type A certified firms are seen as the most independent inspection companies as they are not affiliated to any manufacturers or suppliers of a similar product. 

“For purposes of our tender, we are looking for an independent body devoid of any conflict of interest e.g vehicle sales, repairs, maintenance etc and hence type C is not admissible,”Njiraini said in an addendum dated December 20.

ATJ and  Aichi Daihatsu have type C certification, which Kebs says lacks sufficient independence for the job.

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