11 June 2014

Kenya: Safaricom Probe Isn't for China Firm - MPs

THE National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security yesterday denied malice in its investigations of the Sh12.3 billion security tender award to Safaricom.

The team denied claims that it was working at the behest of a Chinese Company that had been awarded the tender then it was cancelled.

"We are working on behalf of the people of Kenya. If there is such, they will come up in the course of the investigations," committee vice chairman Aloise Leitoimaga said.

He was speaking after a meeting with the cabinet subcommittee led by Interior PS Mutea Iringo.

The MPs said they are still not satisfied that the contract for the tender should be signed until they have talked to all the players.

Safaricom, Communication Authority of Kenya and the Ministry of Information will meet the committee tomorrow as part of the investigations.

"We must ensure that we give the contract a clean bill of health and we are going to continue with the investigations. The ministerial technical team has assured us that the contract has not been signed as agreed," Leitoimaga said.

He said the House committee will also summon Attorney General Githu Muigai, who last week said he was not consulted in the awarding of the tender.

This is not the first time that the project is question.

The tender was first floated in 2011 and was to be financed by the Chinese government and awarded to ZTE.

However the tender was cancelled after ZTE's rival Huaweii Technologies went to court challenging the award.

There are reports that ZTE could be pushing for the investigations of the new award after it emerged that Huaweii will do the implementation on behalf of Safaricom.

Yesterday, Mutea and his team explained the cost of the project and clarified the exact amount Safaricom will be paid and the duration.

The committee also sought to know whether Safaricom has the capacity to implement the project including its track record.

The House team asked the Interior ministry to explain who will own the infrastructure for the surveillance system once it is set-up.

"We also wanted to know quality of the proposed system and its security. We were looking at the technical issues of the projects," Leitoimaga said.

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