Kebs allowed time to file response in Sh540m stickers case

Activist Okiya Omtatah. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Activist Okiya Omtatah. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A court has allowed the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) more time to file its response in a case challenging a Sh540 million tender for supply of standardisation (ISM/SM) mark stickers.

Appearing before Justice Chacha Mwita yesterday, Kebs said it needed more time to file its response in the case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah. Mr Omtatah filed the case on Friday under certificate of urgency and the court directed them to appear in court on Monday. The judge, consequently directed parties to appear before him on Thursday, for further directions.

Mr Omtatah has challenged the tender, questioning why the agency put requirements that would lock out local firms, against government policy and the constitutional requirement in Article 227(2) of supporting local industry, where there is capacity. He said Endan Printing Services Ltd had lodged a request for review at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB). The application was later withdrawn and the procurement process resumed.

According to Mr Omtatah, whereas the application for review raised matters of grave public interest, the same was withdrawn by the applicant before the PPARB expressed itself on the case.  Among the requirements made to lock out local firms, he argued, is the short time given to them to prepare and present applications. The tender required the inclusion of the provision of ISM/SM sample stickers and a fully operational demo of the proposed Kebs system including ordering, verification and reporting processes. He said this was only viable for the current service provider.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this case, the court be pleased to issue an interim order prohibiting Kebs and its agents or any person purporting to act under its authority from process in or giving effect to international tender No KEBS/T041/201-2020 for supply and delivery of standardisation marks stickers,” said Mr Omtatah.

In a notice Kebs said it had extended the opening and closing of the tender to Friday May 18, 2018 at 12pm.

The successful bidder will sign a three-year contract to supply at least 30 million stickers per month with each costing the taxpayer 50 cents. This means Kebs will incur about Sh15 million per month or Sh540 million for the three years. 

The winning tenderer is required to demonstrate capability and proven experience or record in secure traceability of services for government Agencies or departments in multiple countries, three of which must be outside Kenya.

Mr Omtatah wants Kebs compelled to conduct the procurement process in strict and full compliance with the constitution and the PPAD Act 2015, including by providing preference margins and reservations to promote local industry.