21 November 2017

Kenya: Court Declines to Suspend CBK Tender for New Currency Notes

The Central Bank of Kenya will on Wednesday proceed to open bids for the tender of printing the new Kenyan currency after the High Court declined to suspend it.

Justice Enoch Chacha Mwita set the hearing of a case in which De La Rue Security Printing firm had sought to stop the ongoing tender, to be on November 30.

TENDER

The judge issued the directions on Tuesday after CBK accused the firm of illegally acquiring tender documents for a process it had not participated in.

Through lawyer Ochieng Oduol, CBK wants the firm to explain how it acquired the documents that it attached as evidence in the case.

Despite pleas from the firm to the court to temporarily suspend the tendering process, the judge insisted that the issues raised needed to be responded to and a determination made.

"We must find out the veracity of the alleged documents. If they are valid we proceed with the case that is before us because it is a constitutional matter. If they are merited, nothing will stop the court from nullifying the whole tender," said Justice Mwita.

DISPUTE

According to CBK, De la Rue was not pre-qualified to tender or invited to submit or participate in the disputed tender yet it has in its possession a confidential document that should not be disclosed unless a court order has been issued.

CBK also claimed that there are avenues the firm should have used to request the disputed documents but it did not do so, hence the documents should be struck out and considered inadmissible.

CBK also claimed that the firm had failed to disclose how the disputed documents were acquired.

COMPANIES

De la Rue and EPZ Ltd have sued CBK, claiming that it failed to consider local companies in the tender.

They claimed that local production, storage and delivery of new notes as well as local onsite secure destruction of the old ones have been put at risk and this would force offshore solution for this process, which would take place thousands of miles from Kenya.

They also claimed that it would be prudent to conduct the exercise locally as the CBK premises is usually under 24-hour surveillance by the General Service Unit.

CURRENCY

They also argued that if the procurement process of the tender proceeds, local companies would lose the opportunity to participate.

"The danger of allowing this process is that we could end up with another Anglo-Leasing kind of scandal," said De la Rue.

De la Rue wanted tender number CBK/37/2017 for the printing and supply of the new design of Kenyan currency notes to be temporarily suspended, pending the hearing and determination of its case.

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