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Sh1.6 billion tender scandal rocks DoD

Updated Monday, October 25th 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Ben Agina, News Editor

Top military brass at Department of Defence (DoD) are grappling with an embarrassing decision in which tender regulations were short-circuited and a South African firm awarded a Sh1.6 billion tender.

The top cadre are in a spot over the belated and irregular decision to cut out four firms initially singled out for consideration for a restricted tender to the SA group direct order to procure Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).

The high command usually associated with discipline and meticulous approach to their work, and most of who are bedecked with medals of honour and exemplary achievement, turns out ignored a Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC) earlier approval for restricted tendering.

President Kibaki cuts a cake during a thanks-giving service for the disciplined forces at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi, on Saturday. With him is Kenya Wildlife Service Director Julius Kipng’etich. Photo: Evans Habil/Standard

Sources report that the manner in which the APC contract was executed was the same case with an unresolved one on Anglo Leasing Security Projects where there was lack of competitive tendering.

At the same time, The standard has established that three senior officers based at DoD — a Major General, a Brigadier and a Colonel — may soon be court-martialed following claims they were involved in over payment of several millions of shillings to a firm (name withheld) to undertake freight forwarding on behalf of DoD.

The firm which is believed have close links with a senior officer at DoD has reportedly been raising invoices for payment without attaching necessary documents such as Airway Bills or Bills of Lading. Major General Simon Karanja — the Commander of Western Command — who is leading the investigation is expected to hand in his report this week.

DoD awarded the USD$20 million (Sh1.6 billion) deal to a South African firm, to the chagrin of the other four companies that had been invited to take part in a restricted, but competitive tender. They are Mechem Technologies (Pty) Limited, Paramount Group, Integrated Convoy Protection (Pty) Limited, all from South Africa, and Israeli’s IAI Ramta.

Documents seen by The Standard show the questionable process took place this month, while the tendering exercise kicked off on September 1 with submission to the MTC.

The new scandal to rock the fortified and secretive world of defence goes contrary to DOD’s own procedures which emphasise procuring “the right Equipment and Systems at the right time, in the right quantity, at the right place, and at the right price by advocating competitive bidding”.

Sources informed The Standard that M/s OTT Technologies (PTY) Limited was on Friday awarded the tender for the APCs after a surprise and last-minute review of the initial timelines set out by the Committee – a move seen as an attempt to favour the firm.

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