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Court to rule on police car tender row next year

COUNTIES
By Jacob Ng'etich | October 26th 2019
Court to rule on police car tender row next year. [Photo: Courtesy]

The Interior Ministry has suffered a setback after the High Court stopped it from signing any deal on the contentious Sh12.6 billion tender for police vehicles until next year.

Justice John Mativo issued a stay order until January 20, when he will rule on the protracted war pitting industry players and the ministry.

CMC Motors appealed after it lost at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) on September 18, which ruled that the Interior ministry was justified to cancel the tender because of price difference.

However, the dealer on October 1 appealed, claiming the ministry flouted procurement rules by awarding the tender to another company on September 20, two days after the ruling of PPARB.

The company says the ministry flouted Section 175 of the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act 2015, which gives a 14-day window for appeal after the tribunal’s ruling.

Justice Mativo on Wednesday ruled that under Section 168 of the Act, no contract can proceed when an appeal on the same is pending.

The application by CMC wants the review board to declare the tender for the leasing of motor vehicles from local assemblies illegal, null and void.

Under the phase I and II programmes, which started in 2013, the National Police Service (NPS) leased 530 Ford Ranger single- and double-cabin pick-up trucks for police and county government administrators.

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NPS leased from CMC 75 vehicles three years later to bring the number of vehicles to 605. The fleet was to serve for four years with a room for a renewal.

The Interior ministry is now caught up in a vicious fight after it terminated the CMC tender, weeks to the lapse of Phase II.

Big blow

A week ago, PPARB stopped the Government from signing a multi-billion-shilling vehicle leasing tender, giving a big blow to the Interior ministry. CMC, through lawyer Migos Ogamba, on Wednesday challenged the manner in which the procuring entity skewed the tender to favour other players under the guise of local assembly while the beneficiaries had failed on technical aspects.

The petitioner argues that the procuring entity carried out a market survey with the sole reason of terminating the tender.

They requested an interrogation on why the market survey was conducted on two service providers who participated in the subject tender, but failed during technical evaluation.

But lawyer Stephen Wamae in his response, on behalf of the Interior Principal Secretary, said CMC refused to participate in the second procurement process after the cancellation of the first.

But CMC said since bidders were recommended for award of the subject tender in the lots in issue, the procuring entity had the obligation to award the tender.

Ogamba argued that the procuring entity flouted procurement regulations on seven grounds.

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