Kenya’s appeal court ruled SICPA, a Swiss company providing excise stamps fulfilled public participation threshold by engaging manufacturers lobby group whose membership is spread across the country.
High court had ruled that the company only did two public participation meetings with limited scope and invalidated the company’s Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS) tender on grounds the that the consultations had not been conducted across the country.
Appellant Court however quashed the case saying that Kenya Association of Manufacturers had membership across the country’ and the lobby groups’ involvement in public participation was effective enough.
The judge also ruled KRA did not violate any laws while tendering SICPA dismissing the High Court case for making a mistake by finding that other companies were locked out of the tender and that there was no public participation in awarding the contract.
“We hold the considered view that the Kenya Association of Manufacturers is a large body, with representation in the whole country. The fact that there was representation of the membership of the key stakeholder in the meetings, was, with the greatest of respect, sufficient as the representation of the membership of the stakeholder had the members view on the implementation of EGMS,” the court ruled.
SICPA said the three-judge bench unanimously agreed that the procurement and award processes did not violate any tendering rules, and that the appeal was justified.
“This means therefore that the process followed by KRA and the National Treasury to appoint SICPA as the provider of a secure anti-illicit trade systems in the form of enhanced tax stamps, was finally judged fully compliant to Kenya’s public procurement law, despite criticism against it,” the firm said.
SICPA is a major provider of the digital stamps in Africa which entails affixing paper stamps on taxable products to increase revenue.
KRA defended the SICPA digital tax system, noting that it was brought to ensure the traceability of products, secure excise duty, and ultimately increase revenue to the government.