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Court reverses Nakuru County's decision to alter tenders awarded to four garbage firms

COUNTIES
By Julius Chepkwony | September 30th 2021

Justice Joel Ngugi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

A court in Nakuru has reversed a decision by the county government to alter contracts it had awarded four garbage collecting firms.

Justice Joel Ngugi of the High Court in Nakuru termed it illegal, the government decision requiring the firms to forfeit some of the zones they were to operate from so they can be awarded to other groups.

Wiper Sanitary Disposers, Taka Ventures, Hadassah Women Group and Bidii Yetu Enterprises can now continue collecting garbage in the areas within Naivasha sub-county as per the tender awarded to them more than five years ago, thanks to Justice Ngugi's ruling delivered on September 23 that was posted on the court's website.

“The actions by the respondents (county government) are substantively illegal. Once a tender has been awarded, no variation can be done to the contract completed as a result of the tendering process in order to benefit a third party who had not won the tender,” Justice Ngugi ruled.

The judge said it was irrational for the county government to change the contract terms.

“In the end, whichever way you slice it, the decisions by the respondents in this case – whatever their motivations – were eminently unlawful,” the court stated.

Wiper Sanitary Disposers had been awarded the tender for Naivasha Zone 1, covering Industrial Area, Hope Well Site and the Council Estate.

Taka Ventures was awarded the tender for Zone 3 covering Lake View, Suberico and Kihoto while Hadassah Women Group was to handle Zone 6 covering Mai Mahiu and Longonot.

Zone 5 covering Kayole, Maryland, Kinamba to National Youth Service, Kinungi and Ihindu had been awarded to Bidii Yetu.

The companies sued the county government following a letter by the Department of Environment dated November 11, 2016, informing them of the changes in their contract terms.

The county government had advertised a tender opportunity in the dailies on November 30, 2015, inviting qualified individuals and or companies for tenders for solid waste collection, transportation and disposal services.

 

Justice Mumbi Ngugi said it was irrational for the county government to change the contract terms. [Courtesy]

The four firms placed their bids and each was informed they had been awarded the tenders.

Upon receiving their letters, the companies signed binding agreements with the county government outlining the terms and conditions of the contracts.

Despite signing the contracts, the companies said they were unable to start their operations as a result of interference by some individuals and groups.

The companies wrote to the county government, seeking to know what was happening.

In response, the county summoned owners of the companies for a meeting.

They said they went to the Environment minister's office for the meeting they hoped would resolve the issue.

However, they said, there was no attempt at finding a solution to the problem. Instead, to their astonishment, they told the court they were handed already typed and undated resolutions of a meeting directing them to forfeit some of their zones.

“Following the zoning and awarding of solid waste in Naivasha (sic), several complaints arose from the youth and people with disabilities. These groups have been volunteering to do the work hence complained that they were locked out, necessitating several consultative meetings between them and those who won the tenders,” read the letter handed to the companies in part.

In effect, the letters meant that parts of the zones which had been given to the four firms would be given to other groups.

In the suit, the 12 individuals named as interested parties said the tendering process used to award the tenders to the four companies was done in a discriminatory way and against the rules of natural justice.

They also claimed that the zones awarded to the four companies were too big for one entity and that the procurement committee had decided to revise the allocations.

The interested parties, however, did not contest the fact that they did not participate in the tender process as required by law.

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