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Economy

ZTE wins court war for Sh1.25bn meters contract

 Kenya Power staff
A Kenya Power staff explains to a customer how power meters and bulbs function. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG 

Chinese firm, ZTE, has won the protracted legal battle over a Sh1.25bn Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC meters deal after the High Court quashed a decision by the public procurement watchdog nullifiying the contract.

The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) in May 2018 nullified the award of the contract to design, supply and install an advanced metering to the Chinese telecoms equipment and systems firm.

Justice John Mativo in a judgment last week said the decision was marred by procedural improprieties, including the board entertaining a request for review from a party who had not participated in the tender process.

“An order of certiorari be and is hereby issued quashing the respondent's decision dated 4th May 2018 (Public Procurement Administrative Review Board application No. 48 of 2018- Shennzhen Star Instrument Co. Ltd and Kenya Power Lighting Company Limited,” he said.

Meter data

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ZTE in 2017 beat rival Shenzhen Star Instrument, which specialises in manufacture and supply of smart energy meters, to the lucrative contract aimed at boosting revenue collection at Kenya Power.

Shenzhen challenged ZTE’s win before the board, arguing that ZTE was “primarily a telecommunications company providing telecommunications equipment and network solutions,” and has “never been known to have capacity to manufacture the major component of the meter data management system.”

The PPARB panel comprising chairman Paul Gicheru and members Rosemary Gituma, Nelson Orgut and Peter Bita Ondieki nullified the award, saying Kenya Power had abused the time validity of a tender clause by making several extensions of the tender against procurement regulations.

The board further directed Kenya Power to re-advertise the tender. It has since been established that PPARB failed to give Kenya Power a fair hearing by ignoring and or disregarding submissions on weighty questions of law.

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