Kebs stares at crisis as MPs censure firms - Beaking Kenya News

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Sunday, 18 October 2020

Kebs stares at crisis as MPs censure firms


The decision by Parliament to call for debarment of two companies contracted by Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) in provision of pre-export verification of imported motor vehicles has left the State body in a quandary.

The decision means if successfully debarred, it will be a monopoly for the company that had had the job previously.

National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) recommended that the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) commences debarment proceedings against the two bidders — M/s EAA Company Ltd and M/s ATJ Ltd — for violating the procurement law by misrepresenting and forging documents to win tenders.

The contracts the two companies had with Kebs to inspect vehicles destined for Kenyan market will be cancelled and only Quality Inspection Services Inc Japan (QISJ) will be left in the market.

The decision if successful is likely to open Kebs to litigation by the two companies as the debarment would mean they cannot go on with their contract.

Provision of pre-export verification for conformity is an assessment programme applied to products at the respective exporting countries to ensure their compliance with applicable Kenyan technical regulations and mandatory standards or approved specifications.

General goods

PIC report touches on two tenders advertised by Kebs for the enlargement of a pool of inspectors for general goods, mobile equipment and second-hand motor vehicles. The standards body signed the three-year tender with Quality Inspection Services Inc Japan (QISJ) on April 3, 2018, to inspect used motor vehicles, mobile equipment and used spare parts in Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Thailand and South Africa.

The contract that was awarded to QISJ is set to expire in April next year but Kebs has tendered for additional partners to supplement the existing contract.

Sources at Kebs now say that if the move succeeds, the monopoly that Quality Inspection Services Inc Japan (QISJ) will enjoy is likely to open the State body to court cases.

On May 26, Mr George Odhiambo, a private Kenyan car importer, moved to the High Court, accusing the Japanese company of overcharging Kenyans during the inspection process. The case is still pending in court.

Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini declined to delve into the matter.

“We are studying the resolution of Parliament, that’s all I can say,” he said.

According to the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, a person can be debarred if they have committed an offence under procurement Act, or any other act.

Breached a contract

A company can also be debarred if it has breached a contract for a procurement by a public entity or in procurement proceedings, given false information about his qualifications.

In its report, PIC stated that it further censured the Kebs boss for failing to obtain a legal opinion from the Office of the Attorney-General, withholding and giving misleading information when he belatedly sought the opinion, which is contrary to provisions of public procurement law.

In its defence, Kebs stated that the decision to increase the companies was made by the board and it also sought AG’s opinion which came late.

A report on Kebs’ move to contract more inspectors of imported goods triggered furious debate in the National Assembly, with a section of MPs accusing their colleagues of scheming to water it down.

The House on Tuesday adopted the report, meaning, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ( EACC) has 60 days to inquire into how Kebs entered into a contract with M/s EAA company Ltd and M/s Auto Terminal Japan (ATJ) Ltd.

It’s this report that will inform whether debarment will be meted on the two companies.

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