KENYA – International fast food chain Steers has lost its bid to develop and manage a restaurant at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after the High Court threw out its suit challenging the procurement watchdog’s decision to award the tender to a Dubai firm.
Justice George Odunga ruled that the Public Procurement Oversight Authority was right in re-evaluating results from the bidding process that saw it overturn the initial award of the tender to Steers.
The judge held that PPOA was right in allowing Suzan General’s appeal despite Steers’ claims that its supporting arguments were filed out of time.
Steers, through its parent company Hoggers, moved to court seeking to reinstate the initial award on grounds that the Dubai firm’s supporting arguments brought in new issues that were not mentioned in the appeal documents.
The PPOA had ruled that the documents did not raise new issues.
“In my view, the respondent was entitled to find that the supplementary grounds did not contain fresh issues or otherwise. In the result, I find no merit in the suit which I hereby dismiss. The courts will only interfere with the decision of a public authority if it is outside the band of reasonableness,” Justice Odunga ruled.
Steers won the tender in June last year, but Suzan General secured court orders compelling PPOA to allow its appeal before the tribunal. Following the appeal, the results were overturned in Suzan General’s favour.
Other firms that had bid for the tender were Kuku Foods Kenya and Yog Holdings.
Yog Holdings was knocked out after it failed to prove that it had previously run a fast food restaurant in an airport. Kuku Foods finished third in the re-evaluation process in June.
Steers and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) had already signed the contract when Suzan General moved to court, but Justice Odunga declared the process null and void, forcing PPOA to review the tender proceedings.
Suzan General had also thrown its hat in the ring for the tender to construct and maintain a duty free shop at the recently opened terminal 2A at the JKIA.
The Dubai firm also challenged the duty free tender results in court, but Justice Odunga found that Swiss firm Dufry International AG had been awarded the multi-billion shilling deal fairly.
In the duty free shops tender case, Justice Odunga faulted Suzan General for moving to court 60 days after KAA had announced Dufry as winners. Dufry and KAA signed a contract for the construction deal in October last year.