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KAA on the spot over Sh900million terminals tender

By Rawlings Otieno | September 7th 2020

Terminal 1C at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is due for a facelift. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has been accused of flouting the law in the award of the tender for the refurbishment of Terminals 1B and 1C at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Some of the bidders claim the Authority awarded the tender outside the law and to a foreign entity that did not submit bids. Now, they want the Procurement Administrative Review Board to review the decision.

China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation won the tender at a cost of Sh963,541,535 but one of the bidders claim that the company is either non-existent or a state firm that trades in different names which is a contravention of the Constitution and the procurement law.

In an application filed at the Board, Ms Flooring & Interior, which prepared a joint bid with other local contractors, says that the evaluation of the tender was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution, the law and the requirements of the tender documents.

The company says the tender register shows that the entity that bid for the tender was called China Jiangxi International Economic at a sum of Sh963,541, 535 and not the one that purported to have won.

“Looking at the tender register, China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation did not submit a bid. However, another entity China Jiangxi International Economic is indicated to have submitted,” the company says in the suit papers filed at the Board on July 16.

It argues that the two entities are separate and distinct and that despite the searches it has conducted there is no information regarding the company that was awarded the tender.

“Its existence is in serious doubt thus necessitating the intervention of the Board to ascertain the true position and safeguard public interest and the interests of other bidders.”

Jiangxi International has had a troubled relationship in Kenya after it slapped the NSSF with a Sh6.9 billion compensation claim for the stalled construction of Hazina Trade Centre.

The claim was over and above the original contract price of Sh6.7 billion for the building, forcing members of Public Investments Committee (PIC) to accuse the company of working with NSSF to rob of the Kenyan public.

“This is pure robbery with violence. I see a conspiracy between NSSF and Jiangxi International to swindle taxpayers billions of shillings,” Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa said in 2018 when the PIC toured Hazina Towers.

A total of 15 bids were received for the tender. Some of the lowest bids came from three companies: Shaanxi Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering (Sh960 million), China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (Sh975million) and China Wu Yi Co Ltd (sh752 million).

However, the management of KAA went ahead to award Jiangxi on the pretext that it was the lowest evaluated.

But Flooring & Interior claims KAA disregarded the law as it failed to apply or give due regard to the tender requirements, especially where there was a provision that local firms where indigenous Kenyans own 51 per cent or more of the share capital were to be allowed a 10 preferential bid.

“Based on this tender requirements, Jiangxi should not have been awarded the tender,” the company says in its pleadings.

The company says it sent a representative at the tender opening who was turned away on the grounds that due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the tender opening would be done internally and the results made known to the bidders on notice.

The company wants the Board to declare the winning bidder as a non-existent entity and one that did not submit its bid for the tender in line with the requirements of the tender

It also wants KAA, as a procuring entity, compelled to provide all due diligence reports from referees given by M/s China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation to demonstrate that the entity had performed contracts of a similar nature as required in the tender documents.

Additionally, it wants KAA to provide the technical and financial evaluation results and those of the winning bidder to ascertain that the law and evaluation criteria was followed and the preference accorded to it by law.

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