Kennya procurement scandal: Internet companies criticise UN tender


BIDDERS in a fiber internet tender at the United Nations Office at Nairobi are complaining that the contract is about to be awarded to a company that did not follow the proper tendering process. The Sh800 million is to provide a internet link for the UN village in Gigiri. Seven companies tendered and were present when the bids were opened on February 2. They were KDN ( Altech), Frontier Optical Networks (FON), Emerging Markets Communication (EMC), Jamii Telecom, MTN Business, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya (Orange).

However they are now claiming that the UN office is about to award the business to Access Kenya. The seven companies claim that Access Kenya was not pre-qualified and that their bid was not recorded when the tenders were opened on February 2. Yesterday, Access Kenya Group Communication Manager Kevin Keya insisted that they submitted their bid on February 2, 2012.
"Access Kenya Group tendered properly for the fiber internet link within the specified period and we are waiting for the communication from UN like the rest of the companies. What our team did not do is to go for the opening of the tender bids on February 2. However, they were submitted as per instructions. So far we have no official communication from UN that we have won the tender. This story is new to us," stated Keya. "Because of security reasons, Access team did not access the room where the documents were being opened. Instead, they left the documents at the reception," a UN source told the Star unofficially.

A team from UNON reportedly visited the Access Kenya offices last week and interviewed the board members and the staff. "This process is carried out at the very last stages when a decision has been made. We did not see Access Kenya Group or their name was not called out in the room as among the companies that tendered," a rival told the Star.

UNON invited bidders for the expression of interest for the provision of fiber internet link for UNON in November last year. The bidders conference for the actual work was scheduled for January 2, 2012 but was later postponed to February 2 in a letter to all bidders from the Chief Procurement Office Elisabeth Eckerstrom. Last Thursday UN Information Director Mr. Nasser Ega-Musa advised, "I will begin to inquire internally. I hope to be able to get back to you in due course."