Water and Irrigation ministry has been ordered to award the contract for first phase of construction of $604.3m Thwake Dam to China Gezhouba GroupTender for Kenya’s Thwake dam cancelled, the lowest bidder.
The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) on Wednesday faulted the decision of the former Irrigation Principal Secretary Mwangi Nduati to award the contract to Sinohydro Tianjin Engineering Limited.
In its decision, the board was particularly critical of Mr Nduati’s decision to ignore advice from the Attorney-General and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is the co-financier of the project.
Mr Nduati was the Accounting Officer and clashed with Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa over the matter.The ministry was ordered to comply with the decision to reverse the award to Sinohydro within 14 days.
Mr Nduati’s decision came under more scrutiny after the ministry’s head of procurement, George Marete, disowned the award to Gezhouba.
The ministry admitted that its former accounting officer and the tender committee he appointed made a mistake in ignoring the report of the evaluation committee, which had pointed at Gezhouba as the lowest bidder.
On the other hand, Sinohtdro wanted the board to have the entire process cancelled and a fresh tender advertised.
Gezhouba bid approximately $358m for the first phase while Sinohydro $383m for the first phase of the project to put up a dam on the border of Kitui and Makueni counties.
Mr Nduati’s decision had put the future of the project in jeopardy as the AfDB had already indicated it was not willing to cooperate without an explanation of why the lowest bidder had been rejected.
The Principal Secretary’s basis was that the contractor had been barred from doing business with AfDB but the bank itself had stated that the debarment had been lifted and there was thus no problem. The bank is to foot 35% of the costs of the project.