A British engineering firm with a track record in mining projects appears set to fund, build and operate a massive dam in Kenya after an unusual procurement dispute in the country.
GBM Minerals Engineering Consultants, based in Twickenham, London, has been cleared by Kenya’s procurement authority to proceed, in a consortium, with building the High Grand Falls Dam on the River Tana, reports newspaper, Vanguard.
Vanguard and other local media have stated the cost of the scheme as being $2bn.
Second in importance only to the cross-country railway now being built, the High Grand Falls Dam will accommodate a 700MW hydropower plant, and make a large reservoir, displacing thousands of households for irrigation, according to newspaper, Daily Nation.
"GBM Engineering Consortium" became the legal winner of the tender, issued by Kenya’s National Irrigation Board (NIB) in November last year when six other firms, including five Chinese contractors, failed to meet minimum requirements, reports the Nation.
But six months later the NIB cancelled the tender, claiming GBM had failed in the technical evaluation, and had not submitted a bond of 0.5%, according to the Nation.
GBM then sought legal redress against the NIB through Kenya’s Public Procurement Review Board (PPRB), arguing that the bond was due only at the financial evaluation stage.
In July this year the PPRB ruled in favour of GBM, but NIB appealed.
Now the PPRB has upheld its original decision, ordering NIB to conclude the tendering process, reports Vanguard.
Contacted by GCR, GBM declined to comment at this stage.
Image: Satellite image of the Tana River in Kenya (NASA World Wind screenshot/Wikimedia Commons)