KENYA TEA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY BLOCKED FROM AWARDING SH3.5 BILLION TENDER.

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Hydropower International (PVT) Ltd  lawyer Philip Nyachoti leaving a courtroom at Milimani law courts building after he obtained orders stopping Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) from awarding Sh3.5 billion tenders for power projects in three counties(PHOTO BY SAM).

BY SAM ALFAN.

The Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) has been temporarily stopped from awarding Sh3.5billion tenders for the proposed construction of three hydro-power projects in Kericho, Bomet and Embu Counties pending hearing of the application challenging the tender award. .

High Court Judge Msaga Mbogholi slapped the 14-day sanctions against KTDA and its subsidiaries, KTDA Power Company, Settet Power Company and Thuchi Power Company, following an urgent application for injunction by Sri-Lankan firm, Hydropower International (PVT) Ltd, that has cried foul over the manner in which the tender procedure was carried out.

The projects are to be implemented in Kericho, Bomet and Embu Counties respectively.

Hydropower International (PVT) Ltd, through lawyer Philip Nyachoti has challenged the award of the tender to Boom Systems (PVT) Ltd, claiming that the later flouted the tender rules when it entered into partnership with another firm which had not participated in the initial tender process.

The learned Judge blocked the giant tea growers from signing any contracts with Indian firm Booms System (PVT) and its Sri Lankan counter-part VS Hydro (PVT) or re-advertising the tenders for the proposed construction of Chemosit, Kipsonoi and Rupingazi small hydro-power projects.

Lawyer Philip Nyachoti, for the aggrieved firm, was directed to serve the suit papers on the foreign firms through their local agents to facilitate the hearing of the matter on November 16. He had accused the companies of securing the tenders through fraud, misrepresentation and corruption.

The KTDA had advertised for the tenders on August 11, last year, and the pre-qualification by 15 eligible contractors closed on September 29, last year. Subsequently, nine contractors were asked to present their technical proposals and financial bids.

Booms System had initially partnered with Hadish Engineering Company but on July 5, this year, submitted a joint-venture application with VS Hydro apparently to boost its capacity to handle the major works. On October 11, 2016, the KTDA management committee recommended that Hydropower International be awarded the Kipsonoi project while Booms Systems was to handle the other two.

Nyachoti argued that any joint ventures formed after the initial pre-qualification stage could not be considered for the award of the tenders because it flouted the law. Further, the beneficiaries of the tenders had deliberately lowered their financial bids in a calculated move to deny the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) of its dues from development projects.

Further, VS Hydro (PVT) did not attend the mandatory site visits to the three counties. “In essence, KTDA and KTDA Power Company contravened the strict guidelines they themselves had put in place and allowed one of the bidders to have an undue competitive advantage over Hydropower International (PVT) Ltd which is a clear manifestation of fraud and corruption,” Nyachoti explained in court papers.

He claimed KTDA and its subsidiaries engaged in corrupt dealings by acting unfairly and indiscriminately in manipulating the tendering process.

Inter party hearing fixed for November 16,2016.

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