, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 24 – The High Court on Wednesday nullified the controversial award of a Sh24.6 billion laptop tender for class one pupils to Olive Telecommunications.
This was after it found that the tender had been awarded, “unprocedurally,” and directed that the Public Procurement and Review Board carry it out afresh, “to restore public confidence.”
The award to Olive had earlier been cancelled by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board who had then proceeded to direct the Ministry of Education to review the remaining two Best and Final Offers (BAFO) and conclude the tendering process.
But Olive moved to court challenging the cancellation of the tender and Justice Weldon Korir ordered that the review process be suspended pending the hearing and determination of Olive’s petition.
“It is in the interest of justice that to protect investor interests since the dispute involves international companies,” he had ruled.
Assuming Olive does not appeal Wednesday’s ruling, the way is now clear for the Jubilee administration to try and make good its promise to supply 1.2 million laptops to class one pupils in public schools.
While dismissing Olive’s suit, Justices Francis Gikonyo, George Odunga and Weldon Korir ruled that they were free to bid afresh.
“The review board has no powers to bar the applicant from the tendering process if it is still interested in providing the services required,” they declared.
Immediately following the High Court’s finding, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi told Capital FM News that his ministry would comply with the ruling.
It would be the third time bids are invited for the supply of the laptops after the Ministry of Education cancelled the first round for the reason that middlemen had inflated the prices.
The second time round therefore, only Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) were invited to bid.
And it was based on this condition, among others, that Hewlett Packard (HP) and Haier Electrical Appliances – the two other BAFOs – challenged the award of the tender to Olive which they argued was not an OEM.
The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board agreed, cancelling the tender award on this and the grounds that Olive did not meet the financial turnover conditions that had been set either.
It also accused Olive of quoting Sh1.4 billion in additional costs over its initial Sh23.2 billion bid.
But in its petition, Olive argued that all three BAFOs quoted additional costs.
It also contended that it did indeed have the financial muscle to deliver on the tender.