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Lift orders on delivery of ferries, court told

Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) now wants the High Court to temporarily lift orders barring it from shipping two new ferries from Europe on grounds services of the two ferries are needed urgently. Bonriz Surveyors Marine Company, who are the petitioners in the case, had sought orders to suspend the construction, re-advertising and sea-testing of the two new ferries.

They accused KFS of breach of contract after nullifying their contract. However, the KFS through its legal team led by Nani Mungai and Elijah Kitur argued public interest should override the petitioner’s interests.

“The ferries were procured because of serious congestion at the Likoni crossing and currently, three of the existing ferries which were commissioned in 1990 are dilapidated,” argued Mungai, on behalf of the KFS legal team.

They said Bonriz were at fault for failing to deal with their shortcomings after taking charge of the project. Kitur said Bonriz had fallen short of staff. KFS argued that one of the ferries in question has already disembarked from port of Yalova in Turkey and is due to dock at the port of Mombasa on July 27 aboard MV Eagle.

KFS further wants the court to lift orders barring them from re-advertising for the sea-testing of the new ferries. Bonriz was picked by KFS to offer consultancy services for the new ferries project.

He said during one of their numerous meetings, firm representative and the only consultant, Ersen Guresen confessed that he was overwhelmed by the work since he was alone. Kitur told Justice Erick Ogolla that was not the case during the signing of the contract where Bonriz had brought six consultants including its managing director Bernard Njawe.

He said the shortcomings by the firm would have resulted to the delays in the delivery of ferries and downplayed claims that the contract was terminated after the firm raised questions on price variations.

The lawyer said the prices were hiked after negotiations by KFS and the ferry construction company Ozata Tersmelik and given a go-ahead by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.

He said failure to do so would have resulted to further delays which would have caused the ferries be delivered in 2018 as they had failed to start construction work on time.

However, Ozata promised to deliver them in time if only KFS injected additional funding to enable them employ more staff. Kitur noted the court can also give room for arbitration as stipulated in their contract. The ferries cost Sh2billion ($ 995,000.)

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