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Court stops KPA’s multi-billion legal service tendering process of law firms amidst favoritism dispute

By Joackim Bwana | July 4th 2020

A dispute has emerged between law firms and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) over a multi-billion shilling legal service tender at the port.

This follows the introduction of new prequalification criteria by KPA that some lawyers say favours rich and more established law firms.

On June 9, KPA put up a tender notice for the prequalification of legal services. But lawyer Willis Oluga filed a petition seeking to stop the tendering process terming it as discriminative, illegal and unconstitutional.

Oluga, who has over 10 years experience, said KPA had discriminated his firm and several others law firms on the basis of partnership rather than experience,

According to KPA, category A, B and C law firms are expected to have at least one partner who is a certified arbitrator for eight, five and three years respectively.

But the lawyer argues that the requirement was deliberately imposed by KPA so as to favour some firms.

Yesterday Justice Eric Ogola stopped KPA from recruiting law firms following Oluga’s application.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this application inter parties, a conservatory order be and is hereby issued to restrain KPA from receiving, assessing, considering, evaluating and processing bids and tender documents in respect to prequalification of legal services,” ruled Justice Ogola.

The lawyer said that KPA’s criteria is based on the assumption that the ability of a firm to competently handle a legal task is dependent upon the experience of only the partners.

“It is a well-known fact that several firms have associates with more years of experience than some of the partners in those firms,” said Oluga.


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