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True cost of Kenyan surveillance system revealed

True cost of Kenyan surveillance system revealed.

A Kenyan surveillance system was to cost the country KSh 45.3 billion ($526.7 million) before parliament suspended the planned project.

This is according to Safaricom chief executive officer Bob Collymore who has appeared before a parliamentary committee to shed more light on the multi-million dollar ‘Integrated Public Safety Communication and Surveillance System’ (IPSCSS).

The deal was initially awarded to Safaricom, which is Kenya’s biggest mobile network. But the project was later suspended by Kenya’s parliament, pending investigations on whether due procedures were followed in awarding the tender.

In turn, it has been revealed that costs for the project ballooned almost three times more than the initially declared price of KSh 14.9 billion.

Safaricom; though, has said the initial amount was the cost of rolling out the system in Nairobi and Mombasa, with the extra amount set aside to cover the rest of the country.

“Safaricom told us that the estimated cost to establish the network in the remaining 45 counties is KSh 21.5 billion. But the current contract is only for Nairobi and Mombasa,” said Asman Kamama, the chair of the house security committee.

Furthermore, it was revealed that Kenyan taxpayers have to pay an annual maintenance fee of KSh 440 million over a ten-year period during which Safaricom was previously expected to be running the system.

ZTE, a Chinese provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions provider, had offered to do the same job at a cost of KSh 17.7 billion, but the bid was dismissed on ‘price inflation’ reasons.

Questioned on how Safaricom secured the deal, Collymore said the telco is able to roll out IPSCSS within four months and receive payments later from government.

“Safaricom is implementing this project at no cost to government for the first 12 months from the date of commissioning. The government will commence payments thereafter for a period of five years, in installments,” Collymore said.

Safaricom said that it plans partnering with Chinese technology company, Huawei, where the latter is expected to supply the required hardware and software for the police communication, command and control system within two months.

IPSCSS is further expected to have a total of 1,800 ultra-high definition CCTV cameras in the two cities with respectively 60 and 20 enterprise Long Term Evolution (eLTE) technology base stations in Nairobi and Mombasa.

195 police stations in these towns will also be linked to this system via a high-speed internet connection, with 6,000 high-end walkie talkies distributed among the police for carrying out their duties.

The intended roll-out of the system comes as Kenya has been the target of a series of attacks by Somali militant group al Shabaab.


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