14 March 2014

Kenya: Olive Defends Itself Over Laptops Fiasco

Photo: RNW
High Court suspends laptop tender process.

Nairobi — The Indian firm at the centre of the laptops tender saga has now come out to defend itself against reports that it has no capacity to handle the Sh24.6 billion contract.

In a statement, Olive Telecommunications described itself as a reputable company which met all requirements as outlined in the tender documents, and blames politics for cancellation of the tender.

The company argued that the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board had introduced new terms of reference which were not stipulated in the original tender.

"The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board has mysteriously relied solely on one of the losing bidder's definition of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). The globally accepted criteria for OEM in the ICT industry includes companies which design and develop the devices, provide end to end solutions and take full responsibility of the final product," the statement said.

The firm further insisted that it is a world class designer, developer and producer of convergence devices, after the review board ruled that it does not meet the required threshold.

"The combined financial strength of the Olive Consortium was way above the threshold stipulated in the tender document. For instance, the average turnover requirement was Sh8 billion whereas the average turnover of the Olive Consortium was in excess of Sh17 billion," it said.

"In addition, the tender required proof of financial resources with a minimum of Sh3 billion. The Olive Consortium provided credit report from China Construction Bank Corporation, which confirms that they are financially capable to handle business in excess of Sh30 billion."

According to the company, the allegations that it irregularly varied the price in the Best And Final Offer (BAFO) are malicious since other firms also did the same.

"A negotiation process was conducted with all three bidders on 10 December 2013 where all of them were requested to provide Best And Final Offers by 13 December 2013. All the three bidders were then requested to provide BAFO not only for the supply of laptops but also for various additional services including transportation, warranty and after sales service."

"To allege that only Olive quoted for additional services for which HP and Haier did not quote is plainly dishonest and malicious," it stated.

It also pointed out that the tender process had gone through many steps including which involved many officials from the government and even technical experts and that the Ministerial Tender Committee played a keen oversight role in this process.

"It is inconceivable that this process could be so casually overturned by a team of not more than seven people at PPARB sitting for two days only. The Olive Consortium believes in the integrity of Kenyan Laws, constitution and institutions including the team at the Ministry of Education, the wider Government of Kenya and the legal system. We pray and hope that this process so vital for the future of Kenya will not be sacrificed at the altar of unbridled greed, political machinations, expediency and corruption," it said.

The award of the Sh24.6 billion laptop tender to Olive Telecommunications was cancelled by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board which stated that the company did not only lack the financial capability to implement the project, but also quoted Sh1.4billion higher than the required threshold.

The board said that the company should have quoted Sh23.2 billion instead of Sh24.6 billion adding that the excess amount included by the company was to be used for some services which were supposed to be offered free.

On financial capability, the board noted that Olive Telecommunications did not meet the annual turnover of Sh8 billion for the last three years from the time of awarding of the tender.

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