CC image coutersy of Marcin Wichary
Kenya’s parliament has begun investigating the tender for the supply of 1.3 million laptops for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s flagship laptops for schools policy, after allegations the winning bidder failed to meet the necessary requirements.
HumanIPO reported earlier this week the Ministry of Education had awarded the tender to Indian firm Olive Telecommunications, which will supply the laptops at a cost of KSh24.6 billion (US$286 million), which cabinet secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said was the lowest bid of the three firms shortlisted for the re-advertised tender.
The contract was awarded despite media reports last month Olive broke the rules of the tender process, which required bidders to be manufacturers of the devices. The Indian firm contracts Chinese firm New Century Optronics to manufacture to its devices, and then brands them itself, only adding computers to its list of products after it was shortlisted by the Kenyan government, according to the reports.
Business Daily reports Kenya’s Education Committee will today question Ministry of Education principal secretary Dr Belio Kipsang after examining documents he presented, in order to ascertain whether or not due diligence was carried out and the tender requirements followed.
One member of parliament (MP), Kimani Ichung’wa, said he had received information the tender process had deliberately favoured Olive.
“I am willing to appear before this committee to provide evidence that the tendering process was flawed. There was a requirement that the bidders should be original equipment manufacturers,” Ichung’wa said.
However, both Kipsang and Kaimenyi have denied such claims.
“After receiving the bids, evaluating them, making offers and conducting competitive negotiations, we were to make a final offer to pave way for due diligence on the winning firm,” Kipsang said.
“We don’t make decisions on claims, on rumours; it is not advisable. This company has the capacity and the capability to do exactly what is expected of them away from rumours. Because as a nation we cannot make decisions based on claims,” Kaimenyi said.
Olive is now set to distribute 400,000 laptops as part of the first batch before the end of next month, while it will also supply 20,637 laptops for teachers as well as printers and projectors.