The Kenya Ports Authority KPA’s top management has been caught pants down after the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority cancelled a tender the authority had irregularly awarded. KPA had advertised a multimillion tender for the supply of drugs (tender No. KPA/025/2022-23/MS) where 34 firms tendered for the job.
Accusing fingers are now being pointed at the Manager Supply Chain Manager, Mr Johnson Gachanja and then acting MD John Mwangemi as having been compromised in awarding the tender to their preferred firm. When the multimillion shillings awarding of the tender to the highest bidder leaked amidst allegations of bribery, one of the bidders, Harleys Limited decided to seek a review on the 12th January 2023 decision seeking the nullification of the award of the said tender. However, it is not only Harleys Limited which claims that the tender was unfairly awarded, the MD of Ace Pharmaceuticals Mr Iruku Kailemia also claims that his company was locked out unfairly. Harleys Limited complained that their tender documents were tampered with during the evaluation process ostensibly to lock them out of the process.
To show how things were done behind the scenes, the tender committee failed to notify both the successful and unsuccessful tenderers before the expiry of the tender validity period. They failed to give reasons as to why the tenders were unsuccessful and disclosed who the successful tenderer is and at what price the successful tenderer was awarded the tender.
The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Board found out that the notification letters dated 22nd December 2022 failed to disclose the names of the unsuccessful tenderers, the successful tenderers and the tender amount. In a ruling signed by the chairman of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board Faith Waigwa dated 2nd February 2023, they noted several irregularities.The ruling reads “The letter of notification to award contracts to the successful tenderers dated 22nd December 2022 with respect to tender no KPA/025?2022-23/MS for supply of drugs be and are hereby nullified and set aside”.
Corruption allegations against senior managers at KPA are not new, last year the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) moved to the High Court in Mombasa seeking orders to compel a former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employee to pay Ksh.78, 161,858 to the government, which he illegally acquired while working at the authority. It was revealed that Mr Antony Muhanji, through his private company Mukitek Investment Limited, fraudulently secured a tender to undertake excavation and concrete works at KPA. EACC discovered that Mukitek Investment Limited acquired the multimillion shillings tender through forged documents and that Mr Muhanji supervised the excavation as the Project Manager.