Shollei innocent, tender was not irregular – witnesses
Former staffer says the Chief Registrar and seven senior judiciary officials did not meet to conspire to authorise any irregularity in the contract award
The tender for the construction of the Mavoko law courts was done according to the procurement laws, a Nairobi court heard yesterday.
A witness defended former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei and seven others facing charges, saying they were not part of the tender evaluation committee.
Bridget Chepkemoi, a former administrator in Shollei’s office, told trial magistrate Liz Gicheha there were no irregularities in the entire process.
She said none of the accused persons was part of the evaluation committee where Timsales Ltd and Economic Housing Group Ltd were taken to the next stage of financial evaluation.
The two companies were contracted to pre-fabricate the courts at a cost of Sh150 million.
It also emerged that the land where the Mavoko law courts were to be established did not belong to the judiciary after Timsales had been awarded the contract and started building a pre-fabricated court.
The witness said that since there was no land available in Mavoko, the judiciary rerouted the resources to the Runyenjes law courts.
Chepkemoi denied that the tender was influenced at any stage. “The accused persons had never met to conspire anything,” she said.
She says the accused did not commit any offence by authorising the payments of 50 per cent advance payment amounting to Sh150 million to Timsales since it was in accordance with the tendering committee approval.
The court heard that the two companies awarded the contract were required to deposit a Sh150 million bank guarantee at CFC Bank to prevent the judiciary from losing cash if the companies failed to deliver the services.
Procurement expert Onesmus Nzomo said there was no irregularity in the tender process. He said he prepared the tender opening form in which he listed the names of 13 bid firms.
Nzomo said he was appointed as a tender opening committee member by Shollei on November 20, 2012.
During his three years in the judiciary, he did not come across anything irregular in the tender process, he said.
Shollei and seven senior judiciary officials are charged with abuse of office relating to construction of the Mavoko law courts. The others are former deputy registrar Kaikai Kissinger, Martin Okwata, Benedict Omollo, Nicholas Okwemwa, Nicholas Mbeba, Thomas Atak and Wycliff Obunde.
They are accused of increasing the advance downpayment for construction of the court buildings from 10 per cent to 50 per cent without the approval of the tender committee. They have denied the charges. The hearing continues today.