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Competition Authority to Crack Whip on Tender Rigging

GBR Team 21/01/2021

The Competition Authority of Kenya will offer rewards to informants who report verifiable cases of tender collusion, price-fixing and other anti-competition practices, it says in  a statement.

The Authority is implementing an informant reward scheme that will pay confidential whistleblowers up to Sh1million (US$10,000) to report offenders.

Likely to be put on notice are corrupt government officers who collude with bidders to rig tender outcomes and award contracts to favoured parties to the detriment of other bidders.

Companies that also collude with specific suppliers to award them contracts will also come under the purview of the reward scheme. This includes supply of goods and services.

The consultancy services market in particular is prone to collusion for supply of legal, audit, marketing and communications, insurance among other services.

Also likely to be targeted by informants are employers who put out tailor-made job advertisements with a predetermined candidate in mind.

A major focus however, will be entities that collude to fix selling and purchase prices as well as those who abuse their market dominant positions.

“The scheme is targeted to persons with credible intelligence regarding restrictive trade practices, mainly cartel like conduct,” the Authority says.

“Cartels, which harm consumers through impeding choice, innovation, and increasing prices, flourish under a veil of secrecy,” Competition Czar Wang’ombe Kariuki added.

Through this Scheme, the director-general said, CAK will seek to boost its intelligence gathering capacity on such clandestine behaviour.

Also targeted will be mergers and acquisitions that take place without the knowledge and authorization of the Authority.

The public sector in particular is seen as rife with corrupt collusive behaviour in tender awards and will likely attract scrutiny from CAK through intelligence gained from aggrieved informants or parties privy to the ongoings.

Typically, such complainants have had to seek the intervention of the Public Procurement Review Board with recourse to the High Court for further appeal.

CAK, however, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PPRB to allow such aggrieved bidders to disclose information of wrongdoing to the Authority for action.

Prospective informants should contact CAK immediately through the Authority said.