NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – The Public Private Partnership (PPP) Committee is on January 13 expected to give its decision on whether or not the tender for a coal powered power plant in Lamu was unfairly awarded to Gulf Energy and Centum Investment Group.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, through their lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga, argued before the committee – during a hearing on Tuesday – that the matter was wrongly before it as it was raised outside the timelines set out in the PPP Act 2013.
The petitioner, Hebei Construction Investment Group and Liketh Investment – who lost out on the tender – countered that at the time the tender was being awarded, the PPP Committee had not been constituted.
But acting on behalf of the State Law Office, Emmanuel Bita argued that the petitioner could have sought remedy in the High Court as they eventually did.
Again on behalf of the Ministry of Energy, Georgiadis Khaseke, argued that the petitioner could not claim unfair treatment as his client had sought clarification on their bid three times.
Acting for Gulf and Centum, Lawyer Andrew Musangi said the petitioner could not blame a, “typographical error,” for their disqualification as it was on the said error that the ministry sought clarification.
“The bidders were required to detail fuel consumption and heat rate. Apples were being compared with apples but the petitioner’s numbers were indeterminate as can be gleaned from their correspondence with the ministry,” he said.
But the petitioner’s lawyer, Ndegwa Njiru, countered that the clarifications sought on their bid were, “crafty,” ways of disqualifying them.
The awardee, he said, should not even have been considered for the tender as the consortium – as presently constituted – wasn’t the same as that which expressed interest in the tender.
The petitioner also alleged double-bidding as Tata Power, which had independently expressed interest, also had a hand in Synergy, Exxaro and Gulf Energy; three of the other 26 companies which expressed interest in the project.
But the replacement of Tata, the respondents argued, did not contravene any law as it was provided for in the PPP Act 2013.
They therefore urged the PPP Committee to dismiss the petition as it lacked merit and as a continued delay in the commencement of the project would be a public disservice in the effort to generate cheap power.