The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has defended the award of a multibillion-shilling contract for printing new-look currency to UK firm De La Rue International after Swedish company Crane AB disputed it as irregular.
In submissions before the procurement watchdog, the CBK, through lawyers Ochieng’, Nyango, Kibet & Ohaga Advocates, is seeking to terminate the hearings and defends the 15 per cent local preference accorded the firm that operates the Ruaraka plant co-owned by the government.
De La Rue beat German Giesecke & Devrient, Crane Currency and Oberthur Fiduciaire of France last year.
The new notes are in compliance with the Constitution and will cost Sh18 billion, according to CBK governor Patrick Njoroge.
Crane AB, through lawyer James Gitau Singh, accuses the CBK of breaching the Constitution and lacking transparency in awarding the deal to De La Rue under the guise of margin preference for having local shareholding.
The Swedish firm has further claimed Kenyans stand to lose nearly Sh1 billion as the award was not given to the lowest bid in its financial proposal.
The CBK, however, rubbishes the claims. “The (CBK) reiterates that the award of the tender was not based on the lowest submitted price, but the lowest evaluated price and further that the successful bidder (De La Rue International) had the lowest evaluated price,” argued CBK lawyers before the procurement board in their submissions.
“(Crane AB) despite making various allegations of breach has failed to substantiate the claim and we invite the Board to consider the minutes of evaluation at all stages,” added the CBK.
“The qualification for the application of preference was based on location of production (Ruaraka, Nairobi) and not ownership of the tenderer and the successful bidder having proved that the goods to be supplied to the (CBK) will be produced and assembled locally, there was no fault in the application of preference on this basis,” argues the CBK.
De La Rue has had a stranglehold on the business except for the period between 1966 and 1985 when notes were printed by UK firm Bradbury Wilkinson, later acquired by the former.
“We submit 14 days within which to file a request for review...expired on 14th December 2017. The request is dated 19th December and was lodged with the Board on the same date and is time barred and we ask the Board to dismiss it for this reason,” said CBK.