The Immigration ministry has revived the tender for the new generation identity cards. The ministry has also opted to implement the Sh20 billion project through a restricted procurement process, where a few companies will be invited to bid.
According to documents obtained by the Star, between January 29 and March 1, Immigration PS Emmanuel Kisombe invited a select group of of about nine firms to bid.
The firms are required to offer â€œdesign, supply, installation, testing, training and commissioning of the Kenya National Registration and Identification System and production of smart identity cardsâ€.
â€œA complete Request for Proposal document may be obtained by invited pre-qualified bidders on submission of a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons,â€ Kisombe wrote on January 29.
The PS said the completed proposals were to be submitted with a $2 million (Sh168 million) bid security issued by a reputable bank by 10am, February 25.
He said the price quoted includes duty and other taxes and will remain valid for 150 days from the closing date of the proposals. Kisombe said the seller is expected to deliver the goods to the buyer, cleared for import, and has to bear all the costs and risks involved in bringing the smart IDs into the country.
The smart IDs tender has been cancelled at least four times. The last time was mid 2012 when the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board directed that the contract be terminated after the Immigration ministry presented two different sets of minutes allegedly of the same meeting during which the tender was discussed.
Forged minutes were discovered when the board was opening the financial proposals. One of the bidders then, Imprimirie Nationale, had lodged a complaint with the PPARB over the falsified minutes.
At the time, the tender committee had also shortlisted IRIS Corporation Ltd, Zetes Industries, Indra Sistemas, Ontrack Innovations & 3M Cogent who submitted a joint bid, Nadra & Gemalto and Safran Morpho.
The process of procuring the smart IDs started in 2005 but has faced controversy after another, delaying the implementation the third generation IDs.
The Public Procurement Oversight Authority says â€œthe spirit of the procurement law is the use of open tender as the preferred method of procurementâ€.
However, alternative procurement methods including direct, restricted tendering, request for proposals, request for quotations and low-value procurements can be used only if specific conditions as set out in the law are met.
â€œThe law encourages public institutions to opt for open tender method as it allows all eligible bidders to participate and also allows maximum competition thus ensuring value for money. For use of restricted tender and direct procurement methods, there is further need for the reasons for use of the method to be recorded in writing and written approval of tender committee obtained,â€ PPOA said.
Neither Kisombe nor outgoing Immigration minister Otieno Kajwangâ€™ were available for comment on whether the decision to use restricted tendering met the legal requirements.
President Kibaki, through the Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia also recently put a temporary suspension on all major contracts and payments in excess of Sh500,000 as the country prepares to transition to a new government.