The Star (Nairobi)

6 June 2014

Kenya: MPs Halt Safaricom Security Project

THE Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security has demanded the immediate suspension of the Sh15 billion contracts awarded to Safaricom Limited for supply of a national surveillance system.

The committee yesterday also demanded that the tender should not be signed between the government and Safaricom. Addressing a press conference after an almost three-hour closed-door meeting with Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, committee chairman Asman Kamama said the project will only be implemented after Parliament gives it a clean bill of health.

Kamama told the press that his committee has demanded it be furnished with a comprehensive report from the minister on why the contracts were single-sourced.

"The meeting was closed because the matter we were discussing was sensitive. Our concern as a committee is the issue of single-sourcing," he said.

"The government tried its best to follow the law on single-sourcing, but we are not satisfied. We have instructed the minister to suspend the tender until the committee gives it a clean bill of health," Kamama said.

The Tiaty Member of Parliament disclosed ole Lenku indicated that the government will not proceed with the signing of the deal which has caused uproar among MPs and even the public.

Last month, the Jubilee Government awarded Safaricom the tender to supply and install the Integrated Public Safety Communications and Surveillance System without competitive bidding.

Under the deal, Nairobi and Mombasa will be the first two beneficiaries of the upgrade contract the government signed with Safaricom. The contract requires Safaricom to install hundreds of CCTV cameras, bring in the latest technology, including facial recognition software, create a national command and control centre and link nearly 200 police stations.

Kamama said direct procurement only applies in monopolistic sectors where only one entity can competently supply the goods, works or services required.

Kamama disclosed that in the next 10 days, his committee will summon Safaricom management, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his Communication counterpart Fred Matiang'i, Attorney General Githu Muigai, Communication Authority of Kenya officials and other stakeholders to shed light on the project's authenticity.

"We will summon all of them to give us their side of the story before we decide to either approve or oppose the project. We have the next 10 days to complete the report," he concluded.

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