Local contractors cry foul in Sh6b Kenya Power tender

Kenya Power is on the spot after local contractors accused it of awarding a multi-billion tender to foreign firms at their expense.

Several contractors, under the Energy Sector Contractors Association (ESCA), are seeking to stop the award of a Sh6 billion tender to construct power substation and transmission lines.

According to an application filed at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board, the contractors say requirements in the request for bids were designed to lock out local contractors in favour of international bidders.

In the tender document, for example, Kenya Power had specified a requirement limiting bidding to firms with an average turnover of Sh1.8 billion over the past five years.

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“This criteria is new and not yet common around the world,” states ESCA in its application. “The above requirement should not be the main factor in evaluation but should be a standard to be observed.”

The tender also required bidders to have successfully completed the construction of three sub-station extensions and at least 50 kilometres of 132kv double circuit line.

According to ESCA, no Kenyan company has ever been awarded such projects even as local contractors have been sub-contracted to carry out the same works in the country.

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ESCA argues that the new requirements curtail competition and lock out local bidders, contrary to the Constitution.

“Only foreign bidders will be able to take part in the tender as no local firms have the capacity to participate in this procurement competitively,” states the submissions.

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The contractors want the tender cancelled on the grounds that Kenya Power has failed to promote the national values and principles provided under article 10 of the constitution and promotion of the local industry.

“Kenyan companies have in the past carried out similar assignments with related scope under lower and attainable criteria,” the contractors said.

Kenya Power has denied allegations of bias against local firms stating that the project has been funded on a bilateral agreement between the Kenyan government and the French Development Agency who dictated the bidding criteria.

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Kenya PowerEnergy Sector Contractors Association