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Tendering for seven airport buses revived



The Kenya Airports Authority has reactivated tendering for airport buses after a leasing arrangement was embroiled in controversy.

Top managers were suspended following protests by President Uhuru Kenyatta over the value of the bus leasing contract.

Two companies — Cobus Industries and Tam Durabus — have been listed as the bidders for the tender to supply seven buses, to be financed through a World Bank grant.

The tender is separate from the leasing arrangement with Relief and Mission Ltd, whose cost President Kenyatta protested against three weeks ago, leading to some officials being suspended.

Cobus is a German firm, which has quoted Sh304 million for the supply of seven buses, while Tam Durabus, which has quoted Sh189 million, is a Slovenian company represented in Kenya by Equip Agencies, according to KAA documents.

Equip Agencies is a controversial company that featured prominently in and out of Parliament in a multi-billion-shilling malaria control chemicals scandal in the 1990s and most recently in a controversy over non-delivery of Biometric Voter Registration kits for the 2013 General Election.

The World Bank offered the grant after the 2013 fire that destroyed part of the arrivals lounge, which meant aircraft had to be parked at a distance, and passengers ferried by bus to terminals.

By then, KAA had already signed a contract with Relief and Mission for an eight-year lease of five buses. KAA would charge airlines for the use of the buses and in turn pay the lessor, Relief and Mission.

The tendering for the extra seven buses, whose funding will come from the World Bank, had begun, but was jolted by some technicalities. However, it is now headed to the evaluation stage, according to documents seen by the Nation.

As the controversy rages, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has written to KAA, requesting all documents relating to the buses deal with Relief and Mission, which President Kenyatta said must be investigated.

The airports authority has withdrawn the Relief and Mission bus service. It has asked Kenya Airways to offer the service. The Relief and Mission buses are lying idle at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport because they are specialised and cannot be used for ordinary purposes.

“We have been asked to offer the service. We are offering the service but the reasons for this decision is KAA’s,” said Kenya Airways.

The standard charge for such services is based on each trip a bus makes.

KAA had contracted Relief and Mission, a private company, to buy the buses and offer the service. The firm was financed by the Kenya Commercial Bank.

The company was charging $60 (Sh6,000) per trip, and according to KAA documents, this cost was supposed to be passed on to airlines that use the service.

After the President questioned why KAA was spending Sh11 million on the five buses every month, the parastatal decided to halt the contract.

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