Central Bank of Kenya building in Nairobi. file photo | nmg
The battle for Kenya’s multi-billion shilling currency printing tender has taken a new turn after Swedish firm Crane AB, which successfully appealed the award of the tender to rival De La Rue before the review board, applied for leave to withdraw from the court case.
Crane AB, which moved to court seeking to be awarded the Sh10 billion-a-year currency printing tender on the ground that it was the lowest bidder, wants to be allowed to withdraw without offering any explanation.
On Thursday, Crane AB lawyer James Gitau Singh told Justice George Odunga that his client had issued fresh instruction seeking leave to withdraw from the case.
“I have since been instructed to withdraw JR Misc Application No.18 of 2018….and to discontinue any opposition to the petitions filed by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and De La Rue,” Mr Gitau said in a sworn affidavit.
The CBK and De La Rue have opposed the application.
The Swedish firm had moved to the High Court arguing that the findings of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) showed it was the successful bidder and was seeking an order that it be awarded the tender.
The case had been consolidated with the CBK and De La Rue’s suit that wanted the High Court to reverse the PPARB’s decision that nullified the award of the tender to De La Rue and instead ordered fresh evaluation.
Activist Okiyo Omtatah also filed a suit opposing the award of the tender to De La Rue.
The CBK says in its opposition to Crane AB’s application that the court should be allowed to make a final determination given the adverse allegations that had been made against it.
De La Rue on its part argued that it will only consider the option if activist Mr Omtatah withdraws his case since he has made allegations that are similar to Crane AB’s.
Justice Odunga is expected to make a decision on the other cases and Crane AB’s application to withdraw.
Crane AB had asked the court to dismiss the application by CBK and De La Rue International seeking to reverse the decision by PPARB to terminate the award of the contract to De La Rue.
The firm had questioned why CBK should actively seek to have De la Rue international be awarded a tender that will end up in a loss of over Sh800 million to the taxpayer.
The PPARB has also asked the court to dismiss the application by CBK and De La Rue, arguing that it lacks merit.
The tenders watchdog had ruled that De La Rue did not qualify for the preference margin of 15 per cent applied, adding that the British printer was not the lowest evaluated bidder.
The board had further directed the CBK makes a fresh evaluation of the tenders submitted to it within a fortnight.
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