Directors of a company that was awarded the tender to deliver Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) quality marks are seeking to stop their prosecution over graft-related charges.
Through their lawyer Emmanuel Wetang’ula, the eight managers and the firm, Madras Security Printers Private Ltd (MSPP), moved to the High Court arguing they are aggrieved with the charges levelled against them.
“The contract which forms the basis of the criminal charges has never been set aside, or challenged in any way by any of the contracting parties. It is for all purpose a valid contract whose legality or validity has not been contested in any court of law,” lawyer Wetang’ula in court papers.
Mr Wetangula said a charge sheet dated June 25, 2018, was presented to the Chief Magistrates court by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Inspector General of Police and head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, who he fears want to commence proceedings against his clients.
The lawyer, in the court papers, said arrest warrants were consequently issued against the managers, who are Indian citizens and had not honoured court summons because they had not been served,
The managers are: Prathap Singh, Arul Prathan Singh, Sam Prasad, Asir Prathan Singh, Suseela Rajah, Ponmani Prasad, Ramachadran Nataarajan and Rajah Sunder Singh.
They argue that Kebs published an open international tender in the local dailies on January 21, 2015 and it was based on this that they presented their bid. There were four other bidders, but MSPP was finally awarded the tender.
But the process was challenged before the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB), where a determination was delivered on April 14, 2015 directing Kebs to re-evaluate tender. Kebs complied with the directive.
The re-evaluation of the tender was also the subject of another appeal before the PPARB that was dismissed and a direction issued allowing Kebs to proceed and complete the procurement process, including the signing of the contract with the successful bidder, MSPP.
A contract dated May 22, 2015 was signed by Kebs and MSPP upon the satisfaction of Kebs that the firm met all the technical and financial capabilities to deliver the terms of the contract.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) wants them prosecuted over alleged importation of unfit standardisation marks.
According to the DPP, the marks supplied by MSPP to Kebs, which the government paid Sh800 million, was found to be prone to photocopying, scanning and misuse by unscrupulous traders thereby defeating the purpose of its procurement.
Under the contract, the company was expected to marks with high quality security features that could be traceable to Kebs database.
This was meant to protect the local industry from unscrupulous traders in order to provide a fair business environment.
Some senior Kebs officials have already been charged in court.
The case by MSPP directors will be heard on August 15.