BY SAM ALFAN.
The High Court has suspended a tender for insurance services by Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).
Justice John Mativo suspended the processing or enforcement of the Kenya Maritime Authority tender No. KM/ONT/010/2019-2021, for the provision of various insurance covers. The tender was due to close on December 3, 2019.
The court further compelled KMA to re-publish an open tender where all registered insurance services providers are eligible in line with the advert the KMA published in the press on November 21, 2017.
The Judge prohibited KMA or any person acting under it behest or direction in the purported enforcement, from locking out insurance brokers and medical insurance providers from participating in tender, pending the determination of the case.
This is after activist Okiya Omtatah challenged the awarding of the tender saying it restricted to underwriters with medical insurance providers and insurance brokers only.
He argued that unless the stay is granted, all eligible and qualified insurance brokers and medical insurance service providers will be unlawfully locked from applying for the tender.
Omtatah argued despite KMA stating in the newspapers advert that the tender is open, it had in small print, restricted it to underwriters (insurance companies) only.
“Whereas the advert clearly indicates that it is an open national tender, in reality it was restricted to underwriters only, with medical insurance providers and insurance brokers effectively locked out,” said Omtatah.
He argued restricting the tender to underwriters only breaks with the long tradition whereby the KMA has procured services in an open tender from all eligible bidders, being underwriters, insurance brokers, and medical insurance providers.
Omtatah said according to the Public Procurement Manual for Insurance Services published by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (formerly, the Public Procurement Oversight Authority), all public tenders are supposed to be open to all eligible bidders. Paragraph 3.2 on page 9 of the manual states categorically that, “The eligible and qualified insurance service providers shall be given equal opportunity to bid.”