Kenya Airport Authority International arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
BY SAM ALFAN
A Dubai-based trading firm has moved to court challenging the decision of the Kenya Airport Authority to re-tender the development and maintenance of duty free shops at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Court.
Suzan General has urged the High Court to quash the Kenya Airports Authority’s decision to carry out the process afresh in June this year, arguing that it did not have the jurisdiction to call for re-tendering.
Airports watchdog first carried out the process in November last year, but the process was declared null and void by the Public Procurement Oversight Authority which found that the tendering was marred with irregularities.
KAA had declared Swiss firm Nuance AG the winners of the botched process before PPOA cancelled the process.
Suzan General has maintained that KAA failed to comply with the directions of the procurement watchdog to make the tender more inclusive to all bidders, which strips it of the right to re-tender the development and maintenance of the duty free shops.
In its suit papers, the trading company has accused KAA of presenting tender documents with the same technical requirements as those from last year’s process, which failed nine other firms in the evaluation process.
“They all bear the same requirements as the original document, which the Board had asked KAA to enlarge so as to make the tender eligibility, and evaluation more inclusive, and it is clear KAA did not make any effort to comply in this regard,” Suzan General said.
Arif Hafid, the trading firm’s general manager maintains that KAA should be barred from re-tendering until it has complied with the said directions.
Mr Hafid also said in documents that his firm asked the KAA to extend the tender application deadline for purposes of compliance with the Board’s mandatory directions, but the latter declined and went ahead with the process.
The Dubai-based firm has also accused the KAA of laxity in verifying the credentials of the firms that submitted their bids, arguing that some of the applicants did not meet the requirements set out in the tender documents.
“Credentials of all bidders were not verified, specifically relating to a minimum of three years operating as a duty free shops retailer and a master concessionaire contract in at least three airports each with an annual traffic of not less than 7 million passengers,” said Daniel Gacugia, Suzan General’s lawyer.
The firm also wants the airports watchdof to compensate all bidders for the money they have spent in putting in their bids, alongside the costs it will spend in the duration of the suit it has lodged against the KAA.
Lady Justice Ngugi directed that Suzan General serve KAA with the suit immediately so as to give it time to respond before she gives further direction on the matter on September 17.
The opportunity to manage the duty free shops at JKIA fell vacant after billionaire tycoon Kamlesh Pattni gave up his tenancy at the airport, and withdrew court cases he had filed against KAA for demolishing his shops.
The duty free shops are expected to inject at least $2million (Sh172 million) in the economy every year.