Agency to clear air on police car leasing tender

The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board is Wednesday expected to give a ruling on the fate of the controversial police cars leasing programme.

President Uhuru Kenyatta tactfully waded into the matter last week while launching Toyota Kenya’s new assembly plant at the Associated Vehicle Assemblers in Miritini, Mombasa County.

He said anyone trying to scuttle government policies aimed at creating jobs for Kenyans should know that they are engaging in futile errands.

He said investors who are interested in winning government tenders especially in the automotive sector should get into the business of local assembly or manufacturing.

NEW ORDERS

Last week, CMC Motors got new orders stopping a procurement process meant to lease 1,290 police vehicles that has been initiated by the Interior ministry.

The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board directed the ministry not to award the tender until the appeal by CMC Motors is heard and determined. The new orders mirror those issued by the High Court on October 1, 2019 stopping the tender process.

Sources within the ministry indicated that Isuzu Kenya and CMC Motors have been the front runners. The same source indicated the winners have already been identified and the tender committee is awaiting the outcome of the legal process.

The tender that was awarded in 2015 was closed on Tuesday October 15 and is now operating on an indefinite extension period.

In its application to the review board, CMC Motors stated the ministry had not only defied High Court orders stopping the new tender process, but also had employed restricted tendering, thereby flouting the Procurement Act.

LEASING VEHICLES

“The Procuring Entity’s plan for the leasing of Motor Vehicles throughout the different phases has been through open tender and it is only now that the procuring entity has used a restricted method of tendering,” charges CMC Motors.

It further argues the specific requirements relating to the items under procurement did not allow for fair and open competition and were discriminatory since only local assemblers were in a position to win the new tender.

When the new tender was advertised, CMC Motors moved to the High Court seeking to stop the tender process and orders were issued on October 1.

According to an affidavit filed by CMC Motors sales director Patrick Amenya, upon perusing the tender documents, they discovered that vehicles imported as fully built attracted lower marks than those assembled locally.

“From the foregoing, it was evident that certain bidders would benefit unfairly over others since space is not available for fair competition. Any such preferential treatment can only be done in accordance with the law, through the preference modules set out in the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015 where local products wholly mined or manufactured are protected,” states Mr Amenya.

COURT ORDER

He adds that despite the High Court stay orders, the ministry “proceeded to evaluate and purport to award the tender in violation of the valid court order”. He said such a move would cause suffering and economic loss to CMC Motors.

The multi-pronged legal battles emanate from the original tender issued in April by the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government for the leasing of 1,290 police vehicles.

The advertisement came after the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board dismissed a previous request by CMC Motors to review its application.

TENDER

After failing at the PPRB, CMC moved to the High Court arguing that Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho re-advertised the tender through restricted tendering before the expiry of the 14 days set in law.

Mr Migos Ogamba had told Justice John Mativo that Mr Kibicho breached the firm’s rights and legitimate expectations.

The firm said the tender was terminated on the grounds that the costs quoted were higher than the market prices. CMC further said the board acted unreasonably.

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