S.2 Billion Tax Tender Put on Hold

The High Court has stopped the Kenya Revenue Authority from awarding a S.2 billion tender for tax collection automation to a French company until a case lodged by one of the bidders is heard.

The orders were issued yesterday by Justice George Odunga.

They prohibit KRA, through its agent Trade Mark East Africa, from proceeding with the award of the contract to Bull SAS, pending the hearing of a case lodged by Webb Fontaine Group.

The tender is for supply, installation and commissioning of an Integrated Customs Management System at KRA to replace Simba system.

“The tender arising from the implementation of ICMS is stopped until this case is heard and determined,” the judge sitting at Milimani, Nairobi said.

Webb moved to court on Monday seeking a judicial review after the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board dismissed a case it had lodged challenging tender award procedures.

The board, on July 14, ruled that the appeal was filed outside the time-frame stipulated in the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

The board ruled that KRA, through its agent, can proceed with the signing of the contract.

Odunga allowed the aggrieved bidder to file an application to compel the review board to hear and determine issues raised on the procurement process, without restricting itself to the issue of time. The judge said the filing and submissions be made within 14 days and directed that the matter be revisited on September 17.

Webb, through lawyer Paul Muite, said Kenyans shall spend colossal money to buy the system procured in an irregular manner.

“The system may in any event not optimally achieve KRA’s objective to increase customs revenue collection by more than Sh60 billion per year,” Muite said.

He said successful bidder, Bull, will enjoy the benefit of a manifestly unlawful action to the detriment of Webb and the public.

Request to review the tender was submitted to PPOA on June 15.

Webb said Bull provided incorrect information on projects and that procurement laws were flawed, claims dismissed by TMEA.