CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Kenya: Parliament Suspends Safaricom's Security Tender

The National Assembly Committee on National Security has suspended the security surveillance tender awarded to Safaricom Limited for supply of a national surveillance system saying that the tender process didn't follow Kenya's procurement laws thus terming the deal as illegal.

The legislators also raised concerns over Safaricom's technical capacity to roll out the highly sophisticated security contract which involves deploying a countrywide 4G network and supply of walkie-talkies to the police.

There were also concerns regarding Safaricom's foreign ownership , with MPs saying it posed a threat of infiltration and spying, hence exposing Kenya's national security.

This comes after the Cabinet Secretary ministry of Interior Security, Joseph ole Lenku, principle Secretary Mutea Iringo and General of Police David Kimaiyo were on Thursday questioned for four hours at the Parliament buildings by MPs regarding the tender, where the CS defended the move stating that it that the contract awarded to Safaricom for installation of security surveillance was done procedurally. He also added that the law was clear on what the government should do whenever single-sourcing contracts as provided in public procurement regulations.

"We directed that they suspend forthwith any signing of the contract. We are not satisfied that we got enough information to give it a clean bill of health," said Asman Kamama, chair of the House Committee.

"Our concern is the issue of single-sourcing. The CS told us it was a restricted tender but we were not satisfied that due process was followed."

The Parliamentary team said it would within 10 days present its report to the National Assembly after questioning Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore, ICT secretary Fred Matiang'i, the Attorney-General, Treasury mandarins and Communications Authority of Kenya boss Francis Wangusi.

The Parliamentary freeze on the Integrated Public Safety Communication and Surveillance System (IPSCSS) comes a day after activist Okiya Omtatah and Wyclif Gisebe moved to the High Court seeking a declaration that the Safaricom deal is unconstitutional adding that the Government was being deceitful and misleading.

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