British currency printing firm De la Rue officials and their barrage of lawyers could not hide their joy as firm handshakes were exchanged outside the Court of Appeal yesterday.
However, there is still quite a bit to be done as Kenyans’ wait for new currency since October 2015 seems to be coming to an end. The new generation notes are a requirement set by the Constitution to remove people’s images from all currency.
“Notes and coins issued by the Central bank of Kenya may bear the images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya, but shall not bear the image of an individual,” the Constitution reads.
It is a race against time as the printer is expected to deposit 10 per cent of the Sh10 billion tender as security and get the Ruaraka plant churning out the new money.
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After removal of President Daniel Moi from the Kenyan currency, the country voted in the 2010 constitutional referendum to get rid of individual portraits on money. The last of President Jomo Kenyatta’s portrait, which is still on currency printed although backdated to 2010, was to be ditched by 2015 as Kenya sought to become among the few countries without people’s portraits on currency.
The currency will be tested in Switzerland for authenticity and insured deliveries checked at Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu through eight secret data points with special sensor readers.
“Tests shall cover paper specification, properties and technical bank inspections,” the tender documents read.
The new currency has been a topic of speculation with samples doing rounds online earlier this year, which were however dismissed by CBK as not the approved designs.
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It has been a long wait for new currency which was tied to contractual hurdles that arose as early as 2002, when President Moi was about to leave the scene and De la Rue’s contract was about to end.