Top management at the University of Nairobi are being accused of trying to influence the multimillion security provision tender that has in the past been shrouded in controversy.
Immediate former vice chancellor Philip Mbithi, members of the procurement team and head of security one retired Major Cheruiyot have been mentioned as main players behind the latest scheme to have a contract of Lavington Security Company renewed.The name of acting VC Isaac Mbeche features prominently in the scandal.
At the centre of the scandal is how Lavington Security owned by one Pius Chelimo won the tender three years ago and how he managed to convince UoN to sign a three-year contract against the public procurement regulations.
Also attracting attention is the allegation of another security company Brinks, owned by Prof Mbithi’s relative, which is rumoured to have been quietly contracted by Lavington Security Company to supply them with guards.
The storm at the procurement department was raised after stakeholders and local security companies under their union and association Protective Security Industry Association protested to the university’s procurement manager for raising mandatory requirements to favour certain service providers.
PSIA had protested an earlier advertisement that sought for provision of security services tender number UoN/T/115/2019-2020. According to the association chairman Cosmas Mutava, the university had limited the number of companies applying to be members of the larger Kenya Security Industrial Association thus locking out deserving local companies that are members of PSIA.
The university placed an addendum on August 6 2019 to correct the anomaly of an earlier advert that appeared on July 30. In the addendum, the university clarified that all firms irrespective of whether they were members of KSIA were free to apply.
But PSIA has protested once again and threatened to lodge appeal with relevant bodies including the public procurement regulatory authority if the other discriminatory concerns are not addressed.
“However, this is only one of the items among the others that we raised. In the tender document provided under the mandatory requirements, you require recommendations from clients within the last three years whose value of contract per month should be not less than Sh5 million. Also under financial capability assessment, tenderers are required to have a turnover of Sh800 million annually.”
University of Nairobi being a public entity, we find this to be unrealistic, unjustifiable and also desriminatory to local service providers and a requirement that is tailored to a few particular service providers,” adds the protest letter signed by PSIA chairman Mutava on August 9 2019
Insiders at the university have raised question how Lavington Security won the tender three years ago and why the company signed a three-year contract instead of one year as in most practice.
With more than 2500 registered private security firms, almost 90pc are local with 10pc remaining being foreign. The companies are all salivating for the close to Sh1 billion annual contracts.
Meanwhile, another group of disgruntled officers are calling on state investigative agencies to investigate how a company associated with Mbithi’s wife won the tender to provide cleaning services.
It is claimed Rossy Cleaning Services was awarded the tender after due influence from the former VC who recently was hounded out of office. Mrs Mbithi is also said to have been elevated to head of examination to the surprise of many staff members. Dr Mbithi recently was awarded another degree and now teaches at the School of Computer Science despite having attained mandatory retirement age.