Parliament has today approved the Kshs 15 billion surveillance contract awarded to Safaricom but directed the mobile network operator to partner with local firms and give them 30 per cent of the work involved in the tender.
The approval means that the multi-billion shilling project - a significant part of which is going to be implemented by China's Huawei Technologies - can now proceed after it was suspended in early June this year.
Parliament's Committee on Administration and National Security had suspended the tender for supply of a national surveillance system on the grounds that the process didn't follow Kenya's procurement laws and was thus illegal. The committee member 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.
Then in late July, the House Committee recommended approval of the tender, stating that its single sourcing was justified because of national security.
Prior to this, the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) also gave a nod to the tender.