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Swiss firm Dufry International AG has been given the green light to run duty-free shops at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) after the High Court dismissed an application seeking to stop the concession agreement for lack of merit.
World Duty Free had sued Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Dufry seeking to halt the development of the shops on grounds that it had been awarded exclusive rights to run duty free shops at JKIA in Nairobi and Mombasa International Airport.
The firm, which trades as Kenya Duty Free Complex claimed the exclusive rights were founded on a deal between the firm and the government initially signed in April 1989 and later amended in May 1990.
Justice Fred Ochieng’ in his ruling said that the agreement between KAA and Dufry was entered into after due process and the Swiss concessionaire has taken up the space allocated in the contract.
“In the circumstances it would, at this stage be ill-advised to grant any interim relief which could place the World Duty Free in the position of a party who has the sole and exclusive rights,” he said.
READ: Company renews battle for JKIA duty-free shops
Kenya Duty Free had further claimed that Dufry’s contract was also in breach of their subsisting deal and wanted the matter referred to arbitration.
KAA, however, claimed that World Duty Free’s contract expired in July last year, allowing the agency to issue fresh tenders for the development and management of duty free retail services at the airports.
The State agency had initially advertised for the tender in October 2013 and the contract awarded to Nuance Group whose award was successfully challenged before the Public Procurement and Administrative Review Board.
KAA was compelled to retender and after evaluating the bids awarded the Swiss concessionaire a 10-year contract to build and maintain duty-free shops at the JKIA in October last year.
The agency had argued in court that the Swiss firm had not been granted exclusive rights to run the duty free operations as there were other companies carrying out other separate and distinct operations at JKIA.
– Business Daily