Activist Okiya Omtatah contests De La Rue currency printing deal

(Photo: Courtesy)

The printing of currency notes by a British company may cost the taxpayer half-a-billion shillings more than other firms that presented bids for the tender, according to an activist.

According to Okiya Omtatah, American Crane & Company offered the cheapest bid to print the currency at Sh10.9 billion while French firm Oberthur Fiduciaire would have printed the currency for Sh11.2 billion.

Germany’s Giesecke & Devrient had the most expensive bid at Sh12.6 billion while British firm De La Rue International will now print the new-look currency notes for Sh11.7 billion.“De La Rue International Ltd’s tender price was not the most economically advantageous,” Mr Omtatah said in a letter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He claims that the British firm was illegally given preference in the bidding process that he says was characterised by flaws and illegalities. He says it was the tender evaluation committee that handed over the multi-billion shilling tender to the British firm and not the head of procurement, as the law dictates.

Omtatah argues that the process was rushed and did not have input from the Central Bank, adding that there was no market survey to shop for the best bid price.

In a separate letter to CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge, he alleges that De La Rue compromised security features that could deter counterfeiting, saying the euro, dollar, sterling pound, and even Ugandan shillings had better security features compared Kenya’s.

The activist now wants the tender stopped and procurement probed. He also wants CBK to publish the ownership of the British firm or face court action.