The high court has barred the Kenya Power from proceeding with a Sh2 billion tender for the supply of meters following an application by local assemblers moved seeking to obtain an order suspending the process.
Justice Jairus Ngaah issued the order suspending the purchase after Kenyan firms said their complaint of being locked out was dismissed by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board on a technicality.
The board threw out a plea by four local companies last week stating that their action was late.
“The respondent, therefore, drove the applicant away from the seat of justice without being heard on the merits of its case despite the respondent having wrongfully failed to exercise its jurisdiction and mandate, as sought by the applicant,” the companies said through a lawyer Titus Koceyo.
The firms including Smart Meters Technology Ltd, Shenzhen Star Instrument Company Ltd, Magnate Ventures Ltd, and Inhemeter Africa Company Ltd had lamented that KPLC locked them out of the tender by placing limits that favor foreigners.
They say a requirement for a successful bidder to have a minimum of 15 years of technical specifications experience in the manufacture of energy meters is unlawful and biased yet they have invested heavily and have been supplying KP since 2015.
Justice Ngaah directed Koceyo to serve KP within three days and set the hearing of the case for June 28. The power utility company defended the decision to restrict the tender to international firms arguing that there have been massive failures for locally assembled meters.