Showdown between Kenya Bureau of Standards, Japanese inspection firm threatens car imports

Importers of second hand cars in Kenya face millions of shillings in losses due to a dispute between the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre ( Jevic) over the lucrative motor vehicle pre-shipment inspection tender.

This comes as the Public Procurement Appeals Committee yesterday postponed the ruling of the protracted tender dispute for the second day running with the final outcome expected this afternoon.

Contract Extension

Last week, Kebs had issued a public notice indicating that it had extended the contract for Quality Inspection Services Inc, Japan and Auto Terminal Japan for three months, but left out Jevic.

 Jevic, which had its contract cancelled late last year and then later re-instated is reading malice in the latest decision by the standards body to strike out its name from the list of contracted car import inspection, especially as the Public Procurement Appeals Committee is yet to give it’s ruling.

Sources familiar with the matter have stated that Jevic is seeking legal redress and if its appeal to be enjoined in the list is not granted, the car inspection firm dispute with the regulator might escalate to high court as it seeks to stop the new arrangement.

If Jevic proceeds to the high court and succeeds in halting the renewal of the tender for the pre-shipment inspection, car importers might be faced with millions of shillings in clearance fees and port charges arising from delays in getting clearance certificate to register their vehicles.

This is not the first time that the country’s standard’s body is finding itself in a tight spot with the inspection company.

Blame game

In 2013, Kebs was blamed for allowing Jevic to offer service despite claims that it was clearing overage cars, an issue that later found its way into the floor of parliament and is thought to have led to the exit of the former CEO.

Last year, the two were embroiled in a blame game over the importation of several cars, which were found to be contaminated by radioactive material prompting the intervention of the Kenya Radiation Protection Board.

On it’s website, Kebs states that it has granted contracts to four inspection companies– Messrs Bureau Veritas, China Certification and Inspection Group, Intertek International, and Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).