MPs say Parliament must approve Safaricom security deal

June 5, 2014 1:46 pm
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Kamama said that while Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku had made a good case for the deal when he appeared before them on Thursday morning, they would still need more information before giving it a clean bill of health.
Kamama said that while Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku had made a good case for the deal when he appeared before them on Thursday morning, they would still need more information before giving it a clean bill of health.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – The National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security on Thursday directed the Executive not to sign the contract for an Integrated Public Safety, Communication and Surveillance system with Safaricom pending its approval by the House.

Committee chairman and Tiaty Member of Parliament Asman Kamama said that while Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku had made a good case for the deal when he appeared before them on Thursday morning, they would still need more information before giving it a clean bill of health.

“We of course expect that the CS will abide by the instructions of this committee until we approve it and the House also approves it. So far we want to say that the ministry together with IG (Inspector General of Police) and the PS (Principal Secretary) have tried to follow the laid down procedures but we are not at this stage satisfied that we’ve gotten correct information,” he said.

And in order to get this information, he said, they would summon Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore, ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, his Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich, the Communications Authority of Kenya and the Attorney General.

“After which we will now decide whether to actually approve it and take it to Parliament or reject it,” he said.

He said the exercise would take 10 days during which they will hold two sittings a day in the interest of expediently disposing of the matter.

“These court cases that have taken like two years have actually prevented this contract from being implemented and we don’t want this situation to prevail for long. You all know that we need to address the issue of terrorism so that we can get tourists coming to our country but even if we have that urgency, everything must be above board,” he explained.

He said they were not pursuing private interests and were simply looking to carry out due diligence as representatives of the Kenyan public.

“When it comes to restricted tendering there’s always intra-competition. And while under security restricted tendering is allowed, we must subject Safaricom to the due process,” he said.

The other concerns raised where Safaricom is concerned is their reach, their role in the bungled electronic transmission of results in the 2013 General Election and the security of the data it will be transmitting.

“We know that Safaricom is a private company. In fact a good share belongs to foreigners and we actually asked whether this system is foolproof in terms of somebody hacking it, infiltration by foreigners or even terrorists. So those concerns have actually been addressed,” he said.

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