Kenya Airports Authority Caught In A Fight Over Lucrative Forex Tender Deal Between Two Traders   

By The Weekly Vision Team

The Kenya Airports Authority management is in the mix over the unfair awarding of tenders for the development and management of currency forex outlets at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s Terminal 1C area. The KAA management had requested interested bidders for the tender (KAA/OT/MBD/0172/2022-2023) through an open national competitive tender.

During the tender opening, four tenderers were recorded, namely Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd., Simba Forex Bureau Ltd., Travel Point Forex Bureau Ltd., and Namanga Forex Bureau Ltd. At the first evaluation stage, one tender was found to be nonresponsive, while three others proceeded to the next stage. Following the conclusion of the financial evaluation stage, the committee determined the successful tenderer’s tender of USD 41,500 as the highest evaluated tender price.

According to the due diligence report, KAA’s general manager, in a letter dated September 28, 2023, to the Central Bank inquiring if Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd.’s letter of intent to acquire space for an additional outlet at JKIA Terminal 1C was from the regulator, CBK confirmed that the firm was indeed licensed. In a professional opinion dated October 9th, KAA’s acting general manager of procurement and logistics, Lillian Okidi, recommended the award of the tender to Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd.

However, on October 25, 2023, Namanga Forex Bureau Ltd., through an affidavit by its director, Mugo Kimani, applied for review of the tender. The Public Procurement Administrative Board convened, heard, and made a termination through a ruling dated November 15, 2023.

Kimani wanted KAA to be stopped from awarding the tender to Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd., as there were serious discrepancies in her tender documents. He further claimed that his tender was the most successful and that he was the most qualified based on the requirements under the tender documents.

He further claimed that the tender submission deadline was irregularly pushed forward from July 25th, 11 to July 25th, 3 p.m., without any communication. He also claimed that KAA manipulated the entire tendering process to favour Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd.

It was also discovered that Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd. presented a tender bearing different tender prices in words and figures. KAA, in a quick rejoinder, stated that they had awarded the tender to Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd in error and that they were ready to comply with the board’s direction. KAA claimed that if the tender was marred by irregularities, then even Namanga Forex Bureau should not be awarded the tender despite being the second-lowest bidder.

The board has therefore dismissed the preliminary objection by Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd. dated October 2, 2023, and the letter of award to Westlands Forex Bureau Exchange Ltd. dated October 9, 2023, has also been declared null and void and cancelled.

The board has also directed KAA’s tender committee to re-evaluate all tenders 10 days from the date of the ruling (15 November 2023).