Artist impression of the Mau summit toll road.
Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has been ordered to complete procurement for an independent expert to supervise the construction of the Sh160 billion Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway.
The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) has given KeNHA 14 days to complete the process, which it had cancelled on December 14 on account that the evaluation had exceeded the 21 days required by the law.
KeNHA told Business Daily Tuesday that it had directed the immediate re-convening of the evaluation team to select the expert.
“The Independent Expert will be a shared resource between the Authority and the financiers in terms of quality check, advising whether the designs are technically correct, and dealing with any emerging issues as well as stakeholder management,” Mr Samwel Kumba, KeNHA Deputy Director Corporate Communication said.
Mr Kumba said KeNHA will uphold the provision to promote local content, as required, and that the expert must have at least 30 percent of local content.
This was the third time the process had been cancelled but a Spanish firm Technica Y Proyectos, S.A in consortium with Gibb Africa Ltd felt slighted and moved to the board.
“In the circumstances, the board finds it just and fair to cancel and set aside the termination of the subject tender’s procurement proceedings and order the 1st respondent to direct the evaluation committee to re-evaluate the subject tender at the financial evaluation stage as guided,” the board chaired by Faith Waigwa ruled.
In the notification, KeNHA said the delay was caused by the dissenting opinions among the evaluation committee members.
But the Spanish firm through the law firm of Kihara & Wayne Advocates said it believes that it was unfairly denied the tender, having attained the highest combined score, in breach of the Constitution.
The board agreed that the termination was not done as required by the law.
“In the circumstances, this reason was not available to the 1st and 2nd respondents to justify termination of the subject tender’s procurement proceedings on account of a purported evaluation that was not completed within 21 days,” the board ruled.
Seven companies had bid for the tender and four proceeded to the technical evaluation. All four, according to the proceedings, complied with the requirements of the tender when the financial evaluation was opened.
Construction of the key highway was expected to start last September but has been delayed by the cancellation of the tender for the independent expert.
The 233-kilometre highway that transversing Kiambu and Nakuru will be built by the Rift Valley Highway Company — a consortium comprising Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, Vinci Highways, and Vinci Concessions, a French concessions and construction firm.
The road will be expanded into a four-lane dual carriageway through a public-private partnership model and will have users pay for its costs, as the government turns to toll as an alternative development financing model.
The firm will then recoup its finances using the revenues and income generated by the electronic toll collection system along the road over 30 years.