Sh10bn a year currency print tender goes to Supreme Court

Sunday October 21 2018

 Okiya Omtatah

Activist Okiya Omtatah. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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The Sh10 billion-a-year tender for printing new look currency is now headed to the Supreme Court after activist Okiya Omtatah challenged the Court of Appeal decision that handed the contract to British firm De La Rue International.

The appellate court overturned a decision nullifying the bid and ruled that there was no collusion between De La Rue and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

But Mr Omtatah has faulted the three judges’ decision, arguing that they failed to appreciate the fact that the new design banknotes were being procured through a three-tier tender process, where the actual makers were supposed to be disclosed in both the pre-qualification and the restricted tendering stage.

He said the Court of Appeal also misdirected itself by assuming and holding that the procuring entity (CBK) had the power to waive the requirement in law for prequalification and allow the De La Rue to subcontract the De La Rue Currency & Security print Ltd and De La Rue EPZ Ltd.

According to the activist, the two firms were not themselves prequalified to produce the specialised and complex goods for which the law required in the process.

The process for the procurement of new design currency banknotes started in 2014 but has been dogged by controversy since then.

Mr Omtatah challenged the award last December arguing that the CBK in awarding the tender not only failed to strictly comply with the law but also rigged it in favour of De La Rue.

He said the procurement process failed to comply with the law and that De La Rue was not qualified as a preferred supplier, or the lowest bidder.