HIGH COURT FREEZES SH 3.5B KTDA HYDRO-POWER PROJECTS AFTER FOREIGN RIVAL FIRMS CLASH.

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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.

High Court has frozen the controversial Sh3.5billion tenders for the proposed construction of three hydro-power projects by the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) over the commercial dispute between three rival firms.

Sri-Lankan firm, Hydropower International (PVT), has secured sanctions against KTDA and its subsidiaries from awarding the lucrative tenders to Indian firm Booms Systems and its Sri-Lankan counter-part VS Hydro.

Justice Joseph Sergon observed that the aggrieved firm had complained that the parties had conspired and colluded to frustrate its bid to succeed in the tendering process. It had relied on some disputed confidential documents that deserved to be examined during full trial.

“The effect of lack of integrity in the procurement process to participants cannot be quantified in monetary terms. I m convinced that Hydropower International (PVT) has shown it would suffer irreparable loss unless the order of injunction is granted,” Justice Sergon pointed out in his ruling.

Lawyer Philip Nyachoti had accused the two rival firms of securing the tenders through fraud, corruption and misrepresentation.

He claimed KTDA and its subsidiaries acted unfairly and indiscriminately in manipulating the tendering process.

But the two firms claim in court papers that Hydropower International did not participate in the pre-qualification process and should be eliminated from the exercise.

They denied having received any formal communication about their alleged successful bids.

The injunction against KTDA and its subsidiaries, KTDA Power Company, Settet Power Company and Thuchi Power Company affects three proposed projects-Chemosit, Kipsonoi and Rupingazi-in Kericho, Bomet and Embu Counties.

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 had 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, he had said.

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