HC Deb 04 March 1953 vol 512 cc362-3
34. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why, in 1950 the order for Sasumua Dam in Kenya was given to a French firm at approximately half the price tendered by reputable British contractors; and why it is now necessary to call for fresh tenders.

Mr. Lyttelton

This contract was awarded by the Nairobi City Council to a company registered in Kenya whose tender was the lowest—though not, I understand, by such a wide margin as the Question suggests—and seemed satisfactory. The local company later applied for and obtained permission to issue a majority of its shares to French interests. I am not aware that fresh tenders have been called for but I am consulting the Governor and will circulate a reply later in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Tilney

Would my right hon. Friend agree that before large sums of hard-won capital are spent on such schemes it is as well to investigate the site and also the background of the lowest tendering firm? If the capital is produced from Britain, should not the job go to a British firm?

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, but at the time the contract was placed I understand the company was of British registration.