Tender battle rages over new number plates
By Kamau Muthoni
| November 8th 2015
The Prison’s Enterprise department is in a spot over the new hi-tech car number plates with the bidders alleging impropriety and frustrations for the last two years.
The Standard on Sunday has learnt that the enterprise has not paid for the first machine installed at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison by Tropical Technologies Ltd to facilitate making of the modern-look number plates.
The machine has also not been formally commissioned two years down the line and training of how to use it has also not taken place.
It has emerged that the Director for Prisons Enterprises Josphat Kaminza has allegedly kept silent despite several letters sent to him asking when the exercise would commence.
Training by Tropical Technologies Ltd, targeted 30 employees in a batch of 15.
Though the tender documents had not provided that the Kenyan firm would provide training, they brokered to have at least 10 people trained but the department increased the number to 30.
But there are shocking revelations in a letter seen by The Standard on Sunday, to the Ministerial Tender Committee on January 16 this year requesting it to open another restricted tender for two other machines and this time, locking out Tropical Ltd.
“The Kenya Prisons Services intends to purchase modern number plates production machines to modernise number plates production,” the letter said.
The letter raises questions as to why other machines are needed yet there is one that had already been procured, installed but not commissioned.
Another letter seen by our team sheds more light on the matter.
Another firm — Safenet Technologies — is interested in supplying the new hi-tech number plates making machine.
In March last year, the firm had written to the Permanent Secretary Interior Ministry raising queries about the machine that was brought by Tropical Ltd from Mulschard of Germany.
“ Kindly note that the item 2 price( hinged and embossing tool system) for tropical technology is suspiciously low for a fully hinged embossing system. It is advisable not to rush in signing off the contract with Tropical Technologies without carrying out due diligence to establish the capacity to deliver as per the specifications otherwise we do suspect that they shall deliver different type of die system made of substandard material,” the letter by Safenet’s managing Director John Wakahora read in part.
Safenet Technologies is slated as number 13 in the letter written this year requesting for two other machines.
However, the machines by Tropical Technologies had been tested by the Public Works department and given a clean bill of health.
The wrangles surrounding the hi-tech number plates does not end there.
The delivery of blank number plates and hot stamping foil has also raised issues.
The case was before the Public Procurement Administrative Board (PPARB) and now the High Court.
PPARB stripped the two tenders from EHA Hoffman International GmbH and a Ugandan firm MIG International after it noted that massive discrepancies in the evaluation process.
The review board noted that Hofman had quoted the tender for the blank plates at $ 2,317, 900 without an indication if it was for the price of one year, but was instead awarded at a price three times higher at $ 6, 953, 700.
“The board wishes to take note that when the matter came for hearing there was a concerted effort by the procuring entity to keep financial proposals submitted by successful bidders and when the documents were finally submitted, it became obvious that there were glaring errors some of which bordered on fraud and different set of figures used in carrying out the financial evaluation,” the board noted. The board noted that the Prison’s department had hiked the price for Tropical from $ 486.20 for the foils to $ 17, 406.350.
Tropical Technologies asked the High Court to dismiss the two companies in their separate cases as the PPARB had delivered a just decision.
“The allegation that the tax payer stands to lose Sh 320,000,000 unless the orders sought are granted is far fetched, fictitious, malicious and unsubstantiated to the extent that no evidence has been adduced to show how this figure is arrived at,” the court heard.
The allegation that the Government of Kenya stands to lose millions unless the orders sought are granted is unsubstantiated to the extent that the was not Tropical was the highest bidder in this particular tender,” in response to EHA Hofman’s case, Tropical told the court.
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