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Engineers accuse KPLC of tailoring tenders to favour Chinese firms

Energy Sector Association sues to demand fairness in the awards of tenders

In Summary

• Local engineers have become redundant despite having acquired knowledge and standards of practice across the world.

• Engineers said that the procuring entity is using the tendering process to reserve businesses for foreign bidders.

KPLC workers replacing vandalized transformers in Kitale.
KPLC workers replacing vandalized transformers in Kitale.
Image: NICHOLAS WAMALWA.

Local engineers have accused the Kenya Power company of tailoring government tenders to favour Chinese companies.

Under the Energy Sector Association, the engineers told the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board that procurement agencies reserve businesses for foreign bidders.

In documents filed in court,  the engineers claim that KPLC was also embracing a little-known foreign technology to lock them out of the lucrative business.

 
 
 

This, in turn, does not promote national inclusiveness and is destroying the local industry.

“The requirements should not be the main factor in evaluation but should be standard to be observed," the association told the board.

ESA said that the procuring entity at KPLC also included in its tenders little-known services and items only used and licensed abroad to favour foreign entrepreneurs.

They said the move by KPLC has declared them redundant despite having acquired knowledge and standards practice across the world.

ESA said KPLC has failed to promote inclusiveness, support local graduates and industries.

This has lead to job losses, a stagnant sector and lack of job opportunities for locals.

 

“The defendant does not in any way enhance the promotion of local industry and does not promote inclusiveness, which is a national value and principle,” the association vice chairman Vincent Okumu said.

 

They added that the tendering rules curtail competition locking out local bidders.

“The applicant avers that both the constitution and the Act aim at ensuring that citizen contractors do not face unnecessary barriers when bidding in public procurement,” they said.

The association said that the tendering process was in breach of section 3 (a) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act as it fails to promote the national values and principals provided under article 10 of the constitution, which calls for free and fair tendering processes in order to promote local industries.

“The applicant members through sought clarifications and requested the amendments of the tender document to get rid off the offending clauses to no avail,” they said. 

Only foreign bidders will be able to take part in the tender as no local firms have the capacity to participate in the procurement competitively, the lobby says.