KICC to pay S. African firm Sh17m in legal row

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The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) will pay Sh17 million to a South African firm for freight charges the company incurred when it shipped equipment, which were installed in the Nairobi facility for the WTO conference in 2015.

This is after a bench of three judges dismissed the appeal by KICC saying it does not disclose valid grounds for granting it permission to appeal against the amount awarded to Congress Rental South Africa in 2017.

Justices Hannah Okwengu, Daniel Musinga and Fatuma Sichale said they saw not fault in the ruling of High Court Judge James Makau, which upheld the award of $158,000 (Sh17 million), granted by an arbitrator.

“In our view, it has not been demonstrated by the applicant that there was any process failure in the arbitration. Instead, the applicant seems to be questioning the merits of the arbitral award and is angling for one more opportunity to challenge it through the court process, which is against the very essence and objective of arbitration,” the judges said.

The South African firm entered into a contract with KICC in December 2015 for the installation of a computerised conference management system at the facility for $2,638,175.68.

It was further agreed that KICC would hire an additional conference management equipment. A down payment was made after signing of the contract and the balance was payable after installation and testing of the equipment.

The equipment had to be transported by air from South Africa to Nairobi and the parties agreed that KICC would be responsible for payment of the import duties and other charges, levied on the equipment before delivery.

After delivery and installation of the equipment, a disagreement arose regarding the freight and forwarding charges as KICC said the South African firm exaggerated the amount. But Congress rental forwarded receipts to KICC as evidencing of the costs.

The KICC management declined to pay, saying the claim was unsubstantiated.