15 February 2014

Kenya: HAIER Also Appeals Against Laptop Award

HAIER Group yesterday filed an appeal with the PPOA against the award of the Sh24.6 bullion laptops tender to Indian firm Olive. On Thursday computer giant Hewlett Packard also filed appeal to the Public Procurement Oversight Authority

Haier lawyer Andrew Musangi of LJ Associates said that they decided to appeal after noticing mysterious variations at the announcement of Olive as the winner.

Last Friday Education secretary Jacob Kaimenyi awarded Olive the tender to supply 1.2 million laptops to this year's school entrants. Chinese company Haier and HP were the other two shortlisted companies. "Goal posts were shifted by the Ministry of Education in breach of the Procurement Act," said Musangi.

He asked how Kaimenyi decided Olive was "most advantageous" and said the criteria for picking the winner were clogged in secrecy. He expect that the PPOA review tribunal will handle their appeal jointly with HP.

HP and Haier will argue that Olive is not an 'Original Equipment Manufacturer', as required by the tender, because it does not have its own factory.

The Chinese company will also argue that the sample 'Classmate' laptop given to the Ministry of Education by Olive was in fact manufactured at the ECS factory in Suzhou which is 48 percent owned by Haier. Haier will seek to prove that ECS manufactured the laptop for Intel in India but that the branding was later changed to Olive. HP and Haier will argue that the tender rules were flouted and that Olive has never done a deal of this size before.

Olive has refused to comment to the Star on the controversy but yesterday its boss Arun Khanna told the Nation that he welcomed the opportunity to clear his company's name during the appeal process. He said HP had failed to submit any sample at all during the tender so it should have been disqualified.

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