Two foreign companies and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) are embroiled in a dispute over a 1 billion shillings contract for laptops and tablets.
Hong Kong’s VGTS Company Ltd and Korea’s MPGIO Ltd have filed a lawsuit challenging the Jkuat Industrial Park decision negotiated at a Zoom meeting in October last year.
The companies were to supply 13,105 laptops and 8,280 tablets as semi-detachable (SKD) kits for local assembly in Kenya, court documents show.
JKUAT had to pay $ 200 for each tablet and $ 615 for each laptop or a total of $ 9,715,575 (Sh1 billion).
The companies say a draft contract was issued on November 3, 2020, and signed before the expiration of the offer validity period.
They said that during the negotiations, Jkuat asked them for commercial and intellectual property information related to the offering items, which included images of the SKDs and tablet covers with qwerty keyboards and a manufacturing and delivery schedule.
They said they gave the confidential information in good faith, having been confident that a contract would be issued since their consortium was the winner.
But one day after signing the contract on November 4, 2020, Jkuat Industrial Park Ltd cancelled the tender, citing its inadequate budget allocations, material governance problems and unforeseeable circumstances.
The firms want the court to overturn Jkuat’s decision. They requested orders prohibiting the university from re-advertising or awarding the tender to another company.
But Judge James Makau rejected the request, saying there are other alternative remedies to the dispute.
“The respondent, being an educational institution, must guarantee the supply of electronic devices such as laptops to Kenyan students at affordable prices,” he ruled.
But the university denies involving the companies in any bidding process, either through a restricted tender or a request for quotation. JKUAT Industrial Park Ltd Acting Managing Director Kibet Langat says the two companies are not on the list of their prequalified suppliers.