Safaricom has sealed a key security deal with the Government, setting the stage for the establishment of the Sh15 billion National Surveillance, Communication and Control System for Nairobi and Mombasa.
The signing of the landmark agreement with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government in Nairobi yesterday will see the telecom firm roll-out the security system.
The development means that Safaricom can start building the secure communications and surveillance network. The solution will also include the installation of surveillance cameras in the two cities to provide real-time footage to the National Police Operations Command Centre.
The contract signing ceremony of the agreement at Harambee House was attended by Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku, Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma, National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.
Ole Lenku said a secure communications and surveillance project will enhance security in the country by providing State operatives with the capability to monitor and deter crime. The country has witnessed a spate of insecurity incidents in the last one year, resulting to deaths of many Kenyans. They include the recent killing of 28 passengers after a bus they were travelling in was attacked by Al-Shabaab terrorists in Mandera County.
Level of scrutiny
Last month, 19 soldiers were killed in Kapedo area, Baringo County. “In July, the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security approved the award of the project to Safaricom, setting the stage for today’s announcement. We believe that the level of scrutiny provided over the last five months by the National Assembly and Public Procurement Oversight Authority, among others, is sufficient. We are keen to see the project go live as soon as possible,” said Amb Juma yesterday.
Bob Collymore indicated this was a pioneering achievement, not just for Kenya, but also for Africa. “Over the next 18 months, Safaricom will build an intelligent solution that harnesses the power of technology to enable law enforcement officers effectively coordinate and deploy their resources in response to threats to national security and, indeed, emergency situations requiring the interplay of competencies from the National Police Service and various disaster response teams,” said Mr Collymore.
Upon completion, the system will be operated by the National Police Service under the expertise of a core project team comprising senior officers from the National Police Service and communications experts. The project gets underway following the receipt of all relevant approvals required to complete the installation and management of a communication and surveillance system to help combat crime.
Under the terms of the five-year agreement, Safaricom will undertake the completion of the Sh14.9 billion project (exclusive of taxes) at its cost and thereafter hand over the operations of the system to the National Police Service.
As part of the agreed terms, the Government will enjoy the use of the service at no cost for the first year of its operation and the Government will only start paying for the solution through a series of annual installments from 2016.