Procurement board orders for fresh ballot papers tender

Friday May 19 2017

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati addresses a press conference on May 10, 2017, in Nairobi, regarding election preparedness. IEBC has been ordered to conduct a fresh tender for printing and supply of ballot papers. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By WANJOHI GITHAE
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Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is facing a hurdle after the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board ordered a fresh tender for printing and delivery of ballot papers.

The Board found that the Sh2.5 billion tender for supply and delivery of ballot papers for the coming elections was “incurably flawed".

"An order be and is hereby issued directing the procuring entity to immediately retender and or procure afresh the election materials, which are subject matter of this request for review using such method as it may consider appropriate taking into account the time left between now and August 8, 2017; and all such other factors as it may consider necessary," the board chairman Paul Gicheru directed.

BREACH OF LAW

IEBC is now on a tight spot as by its own roadmap it had set that by May 31, the company to supply the ballot papers should have been identified and awarded the tender.

The board made the ruling after Rosecate Promotions & Supplies Limited challenged the tender process.

In its papers filed to the board, the company stated that IEBC had given companies who wished to participate less than 30 days as allowed by the law.

It stated that IEBC had breached the law by enjoining its accounting officer in the tender process.

DIRECT PROCUREMENT
The company also stated that the award criteria as provided in the tender documents was ambiguous.

"The financial evaluation criteria is subjective as it provides an alternative award 'for all or part of the elective position. The same will confuse the tender processing committee as it provides two distinct award criteria,"' Rosecate Promotions argued.

The commission had argued that the board had no jurisdiction since it was a restricted tender and not an open tender, a suggestion that was scoffed off by the board.

The tender for ballot papers commenced last year, but barely three months to the elections they are yet to be acquired.

FRESH TENDER

In September 2016, IEBC awarded the tender to Al Ghuair Printing & Publishing Company, which was immediately challenged by Paarl Media Ltd, before the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.

The matter dragged on until April this year when the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court that there should be fresh tendering.

The Court of Appeal rendered its decision on April 26 and directed IEBC to restart the tender process, which has now been stopped.

The ballot papers tender may now suffer the same fate that visited Kenya Integrated Election management Systems, which after several legal battles IEBC had no option but to go for direct procurement.