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[February 17, 2013]
Tech giants lock horns over police systems tender [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Two Chinese tech heavyweights are engaged in a protracted legal battle over the control of a multi-billion shilling tender to supply Kenyan police with communication and surveillance system.
China's state-owned Huawei Technologies had on January 22 this year moved to court and obtained an order blocking the ministry of Internal Security from signing a deal with privately-owned ZTE Corporation, which had apparently won the tender, until an application filed in court is heard and determined.
The High Court ordered a fresh hearing of the review appeal application on February 27.
However, ZTE Corporation said in its court papers filed under a certificate of urgency that it wants an earlier date since the dispute involves procurement, a process in which time is of the essence.
"It is only fair and just that an earlier date is granted other than February 27, for there is looming danger of the whole process of procurement wantonly being put into jeopardy and being affected by lapse of time," said lawyer Charles Kihara acting for ZTE Corporation.
ZTE Corporation wants either February 21 or 22 as appropriate dates for hearing of the applications by the parties, saying that further delay in disposal of the matter as stipulated in the Civil Procedure Act may put ZTE's interest in jeopardy in the event that the procurement is cancelled.
Mr Kihara will be moving to court this week to bring forward the date owing to the urgency of the matter.
The privately-owned corporation said that the tender which gave rise to the procurement is for the benefit of the general public as the surveillance system is intended to boost the country's security.
The firm alleged that the protracted suit on the tendering is intended to frustrate procurement of the system.
Huawei Technologies on its part has said that the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPOA) awarded the tender to ZTE despite the latter having flouted tendering rules.
Huawei Technologies applied to PPOA for a review of the decision to award the tender to ZTE but the board dismissed the application on January 14 this year and directed that the procurement to continues. Huawei then moved to court under a certificate of urgencyand obtained the stay orders.
"Huawei Technologies stands to suffer irreparably given its investment in this tender," lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga, representing Huawei said in the court papers.
Huawei Technologies also said that the Kenyan public stands to lose by having an outdated and incompatible technology taken up by the National Police Service at the cost of current and compatible technology which is what the tender specifications sought in the first place.
The project is supposed to be implemented under the ministry of Internal Security but the winning contractor is expected to do a build, operate and transfer contract although they would help with the technical aspects of running it afterwards.
The two Chinese firms are not new to controversy between themselves and other countries have taken caution from allowing them to advance further with their operations in such States. Some of these countries include USA and Canada.
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