De La Rue takes on CBK over currency printing bid exclusion

De La Rue takes on CBK over currency printing bid exclusion
De La Rue CEO Martin Sutherland, Treasury CS Henry Rotich sign JV Agreement

Currency printing firm De La Rue has taken on the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) over what it terms as exclusion in the tendering process to print the country’s new look currency.

In a petition filed at the high court on Tuesday, De La Rue Currency and Security Print Limited and De La Rue Kenya EPZ have challenged the restricted tender for the new design currency that only seeks international bidders.

They claim that CBK has unlawfully restricted the tender process to international bidders and unjustly locked out qualified and experienced Kenya companies including them.

“Respondent has invited tenders from foreign tenders by use of tender documents that do not comply with mandatory requirements of the constitution,” reads the petition.

The restricted tender is set to close on November 22.

The promulgation of the constitution in 2010 heralded a new age in the design of the local currency with the one big introduction being the removal of portraits of former presidents.

The CBK has however been cagey with the process of printing the new look currency keep its cards close to the chest on the project.

The currency printing business in Kenya is one that has been marred in controversy over the years, with the Central Bank of Kenya never having successfully floated a competitive international tender.

In their suit the two firms claim to have the requisite experience to handle the job while adding that an international currency print job could put the local currency at risk.

“By failing to actually consider local companies for the production of the currency, the respondent (CBK) is exposing itself to significantly increased national security risk in relation to the production, storage and delivery of new notes and onsite secure destruction of the old notes,” the petitioners claim.

The government last year completed a Sh800 million transaction that saw it acquire a 40 percent stake in De La Rue Kenya as part of a joint venture initiative.

The currency printer has also been pushing for a 10 exclusive rights currency printing job with the government.

Justice Chacha Mwita has directed that the petition be served upon CBK before issuing a direction on November 21.

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