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Economy

Italian company says Chinese firm favoured in rail tender

A sample of the standard gauge railway line
A sample of the standard gauge railway line that will be built from Mombasa to Nairobi. Photo/FILE  

A firm which lost the tender for supervision of the standard gauge railway has accused Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) of denying it crucial information on the scope of the contract.

Team Engineering SpA told the Public Investment Committee (PIC) that it was denied information on contract details between KRC and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the firm which won the Sh327 billion tender.

The Italian firm said it needed details to prepare bids for supervision of the 609km standard gauge railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi, which is funded by the Chinese. Construction is expected to start next month.

Dr Ing Luigi Marenzi, the managing director of Team Engineering, said his firm was unfairly locked out of the tender.

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He also questioned the low bidding by a consortium of local and Chinese firms to win the supervision tender saying it may have been an act of collusion between KRC and the consortium.

Serious conflict of interest

Kenya Railways awarded the contract to Chinese firm TSDI, which entered into a consortium with local companies EDON and APEC, at a cost of $42 million.

Team Engineering placed a bid of $73 million for the contract. “There are underlying cases of serious conflict of interest in the manner in which the tender was awarded.

“The process leading to the award is tainted with gross and glaring instances of corruption, fraudulent practices and abuse of office,” Dr Marenzi told the committee.

He said that by denying Team Engineering contract details, KRC denied it an opportunity to win the tender.

“KRC managing director Atanus Maina failed to notify us in good time on who had won the tender. It took our personal intervention to travel all the way from Rome to get the information from KRC after our initial email was not answered.

“After we personally inquired from KRC, an email from procurement manager Lucy Njoroge was sent to us a day latter notifying us on the tender outcome,” Dr Marenzi said.

He accused KRC of flouting the Public Procurement and Disposal Act which stipulates that the outcome of a tender must be communicated to winners and losers immediately the process is concluded.

He alleged that the tendering process was riddled with corruption, abuse of office and conflict of interest.

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