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Reprieve as Kebs contracts two more firms to inspect used cars

By Moses Njagih | March 29th 2020
Motor vehicles wait to be driven to warehouses. [Gideon Maundu/Standard]

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has moved to end a nine-year monopoly enjoyed by a Japanese company that has been inspecting used motor vehicles, spare parts, and machinery imported into the country.

Kebs has now contracted two other firms Auto-Terminal Japan Company and Ms EAA Company Ltd to inspect vehicles imported into Kenya from Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore and South Africa.

This brings to an end the monopoly enjoyed by Quality Inspection Services Japan (QISJ) that has been handling the work alone, and eased the cost of inspection by over Sh4,000.

The competition will also ensure Kenyan motorists will get efficient service and high-quality cars at an affordable cost.

Kebs Managing Director Bernard Njiraini in an advert in the dailies said contracting two more companies would enhance efficiency to Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to standards services. He, however, said the contract with QISJ remains intact, and would only be supplemented by the other two firms.

Port of entry

The Kebs boss also clarified that the standards body will continue to inspect items imported from other countries at the port of entry. “Please note that Kebs will inspect at destination (port of entry) used motor vehicles, mobile equipment, and used spare parts thereof imported from countries where QISJ, EAA and ATJ are not contracted to provide inspection services,” said Njiraini.

Mobile equipment includes trailers, bulldozers, agricultural tractors, excavators, graders, moveable cranes and off-road vehicles.

Curiously, the contracting of the two companies comes at a time when the Public Investment Committee (PIC) is looking into a contentious report from the Office of the Auditor-General on the lucrative Kebs tender.

The report of the special audit has been a subject of debate at the PIC in sittings in Parliament that preceded the National Assembly’s recess. If the auditors would have had their way, the two firms would not have won the tender.

This would consequently have led to QISJ being the only company to be awarded the enhanced tender since the three firms had remained in the bid process after others had been knocked out at the preliminary stages.

However, the two companies appeared before the committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdullswamad Nassir and presented their side of argument.

They even questioned the impartiality of the auditor’s report with Auto-Terminal Japan (ATJ) Director Isaac Kalua claiming there were unethical practices on the part of the auditing team.

Dr Kalua accused three officers from the Auditor General, and one from Kebs, who undertook a special audit on the procurement of the tender of being compromised by QISJ to file a biased report.

This led to them calling for the debarment of the two competitors for allegedly falsifying tender documents.

Dr Kalua produced correspondences between Kebs, QISJ and the auditors, including hotel room receipts he claimed were paid by the tenderer as an inducement to the auditors to punch holes on the report as being grossly biased against them.

While Nassir has demanded that the auditors produce their documents to defend themselves against the gross accusations, Dr Kalua maintained that from the start, Kebs introduced the auditors to QISJ, who later facilitated their travels and stay in United Kingdom, Japan and South Africa.

In an affidavit, he argues that there was no way the auditors would have returned a report favourable to them after facilitation by their competitors in their audit missions.

“From the totality of the documents attached, it is evident that the report of the Auditor-General may have been facilitated by an interested party with the support of certain officials from Kebs.

It could not, therefore, be objective and unbiased,” states Kalua in his affidavit filed before PIC.

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