Court halts tender for supply of hi-tech car number plates
The High Court yesterday suspended a multi-billion-shilling tender to supply new hi-tech number plates.
Justice James Makau issued the temporary order suspending the restricted tender for supply, delivery, installation, testing, training and commissioning of integrated and securitised licence plates production facility and start-up raw materials.
“That an interim order be and is hereby issued pending the hearing and determination of the application inter-partes by issuance of a temporary order suspending the restricted Tender No. SDC/50/2019-2020, for supply, delivery, installation, testing, training and commissioning of integrated and securitised licence plates production facility and start-up raw materials,” ordered Justice Makau.
Makau’s ruling comes after activist Okiya Omtatah filed a petition in court seeking to suspend the tender.
Omtatah had argued that it is imprudent and wasteful to procure an entire production plant whose installed capacity will never be utilised, while abandoning fully serviceable new machinery lying idle at Kamiti Prison.
The government acquired the Kamiti facility between 2013 and 2015 at more than Sh1 billion.
Omtatah claims that he is alive to the fact that the decision to abandon the already procured equipment at Kamiti Prison follows the change of guard at the Ministry of Interior in July 2018.
He claims that in deciding to procure the unviable plant, the new sheriffs in town are acting fraudulently in self-interest, and against the public interest, by secretly abandoning the earlier procurements.
In his court documents, Omtatah argues that a secretive tender is currently under evaluation and is due to be awarded any time.
“Since an entry level automated blank number plate production plant would be required to produce at least 800,000 blank number plates monthly to break even, it is unviable for Kenya, whose annual vehicle registration does not exceed 400,000 units to purchase it,” submitted Omtatah.
He argues that it is in public domain that sometimes in 2013, the government started the process to upgrade the number plate production equipment, with the aim of introducing new generation number plates in the country.
Subsequently, a tender No. KPS/T/8/2013-2014 for supply, delivery, installation, testing, training and commissioning of Modern Number Plate Production Machines was floated. The tender was awarded and a contract signed.
The requisitioned items: Two Embossing Machines, Embossing tools, two Hot-Stamping Machines, one Pneumatic Press Machine, were delivered and installed at Kamiti Prison and have been inspected by various government officials.
Two years later in 2015, towards the roll out of the new generation number plates, the ministry initiated another process by way of international tender to purchase the required materials for use with the above machines through Tender No. KPS/ICB/T/10/2014/2015-2016/2016-2017 for supply and delivery of motorised Vehicle Number Plate Blanks and Tender No. KPS/IC/T/11/2014/2015-2016/2016-2017 for supply and delivery of motorised vehicle Number Plate Hot Stamping Foil. The case will be heard on November 11, 2020.