Central Bank allowed to tender for new look currency
Published on: November 21, 2017 04:24 (EAT)
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) can now go ahead and open tenders for printing of the new look Kenyan currency, which shall not bear the portrait of any individual. This is after High Court judge Chacha Mwita declined to stop the tendering process, which is set to commence on Wednesday, November 22. Currency printing firms De LA Rue and De LA Rue Kenya EPZ Ltd had moved to court challenging the Central Bank’s decision to invite tenders from foreign firms to print the new design Kenyan currency. In their petition, the two firms wanted the court to stop the tendering process pending determination of the case on grounds that printing of the currency would lead to irreparable harm on the local industry They accused CBK of unlawfully restricting the tender process to foreign entities in violation of mandatory requirements guiding the procurement process. They further argued that there is an increased national security risk in allowing the tender to proceed in its current form without considering the benefit of local production as well as destruction of the old notes. De La Rue Kenya CEO, Ian Davies, argued that the law requires all public bodies including CBK to conduct a procurement process that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. In its defense, Central Bank of Kenya accused De La Rue of not disclosing all material and facts before the court. CBK says that the procurement process of currency banknotes commenced in 2014 following an advertisement for pre-qualification of suppliers for production on Banknote Origination Material and Currency printing services. CBK’s Lawyer Ochieng Oduol dismissed the claims by De La Rue that the tendering process started in 2017. Oduol told the court that De La Rue were not pre-qualified to tender nor invited to submit tenders or participate in the issued tender Number CBK37/2017-2018. Oduol further submitted that the Tender Document is confidential and is protected by section 67 of the public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, therefore it cannot be disclosed except through a court order. He claimed that the petitioners illegally obtained the Tender Document in breach of CBK’s right to privacy and the privacy of its communication with the pre-qualified tenders under Article 31 of the Constitution. “The production of the Tender Document is in violation of sections 35 and 80 of the Evidence Act and is inadmissible as evidence in the present proceedings,” argues Oduol CBK claims that the petitioners did not apply for pre-qualifications despite their knowledge of the same and therefore have no locus to challenge the procurement process. Central Bank asked the court to strike out the petition adding that the procurement process was fair, transparent, competitive and legal. “The respondents stands to fail to deliver on its constitutional mandate to Kenyan public, suffer serious and irreparable mandate to the Kenyan public, suffer losses, massive irreparable damage to the economy that cannot be atoned to in monetary terms,”reads court documents. CBK says that the application filed before the court had been filed in gross abuse and that the currency printing tender process is security sensitive and strictly bound.