Politics and policy
Kimunya loses as Chinese firm awarded Sh55bn airport tender
Posted Wednesday, August 29 2012 at 20:11
Transport minister Amos Kimunya suffered another blow on Wednesday in his bid to wriggle out of the controversy surrounding the award and suspension of a contract for construction of a Sh55 billion airport terminal to a Chinese firm.
The Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) ruled that Mr Kimunya had no basis in law to order the Kenya Airports Authority to cancel the award of the Greenfield Terminal tender to Anhui Construction Engineering Group of China.
The authority further ordered KAA to execute the tender with the Chinese firm within the next 30 days from Wednesday, saying the contract was valid to the extent that the firm had been notified of its bid being successful.
“In so far as KAA has not revoked the letter of award, the contract remains valid since the applicant had signed a letter of acceptance,” the PPOA board said in a ruling read by Akidi Okola, a board member.
He said the breaching the legal relationship created by the two documents could lead to claims of damages.
Anhui had after the notification entered into a joint venture with the China Euro International Company.
It is the second blow in three days that Mr Kimunya and the KAA board chaired by former Runyenjes MP Martin Nyaga Wambora have suffered after the Industrial Court ordered the board to reinstate KAA managing director Stephen Gichuki.
Mr Gichuki had been sent on compulsory leave last week on Friday to pave way into investigations over the speed at which the management processed the tender, apparently without the board’s blessings.
The controversy surrounding the tender had sucked in government agencies including the Cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure, the prime minister’s office, the attorney- general’s office and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
The attorney- general and the EACC advised that the tender should go on since with the notification having been given and accepted by Anhui, cancelling it would have exposed the government and KAA to payment of penalties for damages.
Anhui had written to PPOA, seeking annulment of Mr Kimunya’s directive.
The applicant had also requested PPOA to direct KAA to execute the contract within a specified period, restrain both the ministry and parastatal from further interference and set aside calls that such contracts be awarded only to African firms.
In its ruling read by Mr Okola, the PPOA board upheld the contract. “We are certified that under Public Procurement Act, the board has the powers grant the applicant some of the prayers,” said Mr Okola.