Board room wars coupled with succession politics at Lake Victoria South Water Works Development Agency led to the cancellation of a multi-million tender after it was awarded to the lowest bidding company. At the centre of the tender war is the Acting CEO Chrispine Juma who is said to enjoy the backing of the agency’s Supply Chain Management Officer Mr Wilfred Obae.
The two, Chrispine Juma and Wilfred Obae had pushed for the tender to be awarded to Stanfford Construction Company. On the other camp is Manager Supply Chain Management Martin Bayi who is said to enjoy the support of Board Chairman Dan Owino. Their preferred company in the tender row was Aberdare Mobile Ltd.
The Acting CEO Juma is said to be facing strong opposition from the board over the manner in which he is running the agency. His appointment in an acting capacity was influenced by his closeness to the former regime of President Uhuru Kenyatta. A section of the board led by the chairman is said to be burning the midnight oil laying strategies on how to kick him out and appoint a substantive CEO.
The tender war erupted at the agency after it was advertised. The advertisement was for the construction of the Mong’ane-Gotichaki water supply project in South Mugirango in Kisii County (tender No. LSVWWDA/CWS/T/13/2022-2023/R) which was done on the 5th August 2022.
Four firms sent their bids, namely Stanfford Construction Company Ltd, Aberdare Mobile Ltd, Dankenson Research and Construction Ltd and Insignia Scandik Ltd, according to a report by the Public Procurement Review Board. A tender committee later found that two firms were non-responsive (Dankenson Research and Construction Ltd and Insignia Scandik Ltd) while two firms were responsive (Stanfford Construction Company Ltd, Aberdare Mobile Ltd) and proceeded to the next stage of the evaluation process.
In the next stage, Aberdare Mobile Ltd was found to be non-responsive, leaving Stanfford Construction Ltd as the only qualified firm, and the company had quoted Ksh. 37,090,003 for the job. On 19th September 2022, Senior Supply Chain Management Officer Wilfred Obae signed a professional opinion that due diligence was conducted by the tender committee.
The award letter dated 15th October 2022 to Clifford Construction Company was signed by the Acting CEO. However, in an internal memo dated 15th December 2022 on a second opinion signed by the Manager Supply Chain management Martin Mayi, he claimed that the tender process did not follow the law and did not meet the threshold in accordance with Article 227 (1)and recommended termination of the entire process which was later signed by the CEO.
Dissatisfied by the cancellation of the tender which it had fairly won, Stanfford Construction Ltd went to the Public Procurement Review Board on 30th January 2023 requesting review. The board ruled in favour of Stanfford Construction Ltd. The ruling reads in part “The decision by the first respondent to terminate the procurement proceedings of tender No LSVWWDA/CWS/T/13/2022-2023/R tender for construction of Mong’ane-Gotichaki water supply project in South Mugirango in Kisii County be and is hereby nullified and set aside.
The board further gave orders that the tender process continues to its logical conclusion within 14 days of the date of the ruling. The ruling is dated 20th February 2023 and signed by Chairperson Mrs Faith Waigwa and Board’s secretary.
The ruling has left the Acting CEO Chrispine Juma and Supply Chain Management Officer Wilfred Obae celebrating as sources now say they had an interest in the tender and had successfully pushed for Clifford Construction. The matter has left the opposing camp led by Manager Supply Chain Management Martin Bayi and Board Chairman Dan Owino in an awkward position as Aberdare Mobile Ltd which sources say had interest lost it. The ruling is said to have further split the board with more calls for the appointment of substantive CEO.