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New-look Kenyan currency notes to soon go into circulation

New Kenyan currency notes are expected to soon go into circulation after the Court of Appeal cleared the way for the Central Bank of Kenya to go ahead with the printing process.

British security printing firm will retain the Sh10 billion-a-year tender to print Kenya’s new-look currency after the Court of Appeal declared the tendering process lawful.

Justices Erastus Githinji, Asike Makhandia and Ole Kantai faulted High Court’s Justice George Odunga for relying his decision on expunged documents that he had earlier found to have been procured unprocedurally.

The judges noted that CBK acted within the law when it gave De La Rue International 15 per cent preferential treatment and rejected the notion that the regulator colluded with British firm.

In 2017, De La Rue filed to stop the process which CBK had issued an international tender with bids opened to select a winner.


CBK in replies filed, however, claimed it invited bidders on July 8, 2014 through an advertisement in the dailies.

De la Rue had challenged the supply of new design notes claiming CBK locked it out of the tender after it prequalified international firms.

The firm claimed CBK should have first established if the currency could be printed locally before it went shopping abroad.

High Court Judge George Odunga had ordered the CBK to re-evaluate the tender on the grounds that the 15 per cent preferential treatment was conferred contrary to procurement law since the firm is not a Kenyan owned entity, prompting De La Rue and the CBK to file appeal.

The judges were referring to tender documents filed as evidence by the petitioner, activist Okiya Omtata, but which was contested as illegally procured.

Mr Omtatah had moved to court against the award of the multi-billion shilling contract, arguing that De La Rue did not qualify for the 15 per cent margin of preference because it is not a preferred supplier under Kenyan law.


The Court of Appeal noted that De La Rue applied for preferential margin on the basis that it was the only candidate with locally registered and established affiliates, De La Rue Currency & Security Print Ltd.

The Judges said that De La Rue was the only one of the four bidders that could qualify for the preferential margin as envisaged under procurement law “by any stretch of imagination”.

Friday’s ruling now clears the way for De La Rue to start printing of Kenya’s new-look currency as envisioned in the 2010 Constitution.

De La Rue has had a stranglehold on Kenya’s lucrative money printing business except for the period between 1966 and 1985 when another UK firm, Bradbury Wilkinson, did the job.

On Friday De La Rue said it is expanding its Kenya based facility to become a regional hub for East Africa.