• The Star has established that the university is on the verge of awarding a three-year contract to Lavington Security Company valued at Sh1 billion.
• Smaller security companies under their union, Protective Security Industry Association, have protested to the university's procurement manager over the tendering process.
The University of Nairobi is staring at a procurement dispute over the award of a multi-million security tender.
The Star has established that the university is on the verge of awarding a three-year contract to Lavington Security Company valued at Sh1 billion.
The private security firm has been offering security services to the university's main campus and all other campuses across the country.
Smaller security companies under their union, Protective Security Industry Association, have protested to the university's procurement manager over the tendering process.
PSIA accuses the procurement department of raising mandatory requirements that they claim play into the strengths of Lavington Security.
However, university acting vice chancellor Isaac Mbeche told the Star that the contract was above board.
"We were looking for a company with a sound financial position and which can pay its guards even before receiving payments from the university. We are facing serious cash flow challenges," Mbeche said.
Mbeche said that as a big university with more than 13 campuses spread across the country, they always prefer to deal with companies with sound financial bases.
However, security firms have faulted the university for trying to circumvent the law so as to get into a contract with a firm that can bail it out of its financial mess.
PSIA, in its letter, claims that Lavington Security company, which provided security for the last three years during ex-VC Peter Mbithi tenure is being favoured.
The lobby had protested an earlier advertisement that sought for the provision of security services tender Number UoN/T/115/2019-2020.
According to the PSIA chairman Cosmas Mutava, the university had limited the number of companies applying to be members of the larger Kenya Security Industrial Association thus locking out other deserving local companies.
The university placed an addendum on August 6, 2019, to correct the anomaly to an earlier advert that appeared on July 30.
In the addendum, the university clarified that all firms irrespective of whether they were members of KSIA were free to apply.
But PSIA has protested once again and threatened to lodge appeals with relevant bodies including the public procurement regulatory authority if the other discriminatory concerns are not addressed.
"However, this is only one of the items among the others that we raised.
Under the tough requirements which PSIA claims locked out small firms, companies were required to have recommendations from clients within the last three years whose value of contract per month should be not less than Sh5 million.
Also under financial capability assessment, the firms were also required to have a turnover of Sh800 million annually.
"We find this to be unrealistic, unjustifiable and also discriminatory to local service providers and a requirement that is tailored to a few particular service providers," PSIA said in its protest letter dated August 9.
Insiders at the university have raised questions about how Lavington Security won the tender three years ago and why the company signed a three-year contract instead of one year one as is common practice.
With more than 2,500 registered private security firms, almost 90 per cent are local with remaining 10 per cent being foreign.
(edited by O. Owino)