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Why Sh437 million CCTV cameras in Nairobi are not working, millions of lives at stake

By Josphat Thiong'o | Feb 7th 2019 | 2 min read
By Josphat Thiong'o | February 7th 2019

Up to 42 CCTV cameras installed in key strategic places in Nairobi are not functional, a report has shown.

The Sh437 million cameras installed in markets, highways, bus parks, hotel entrances among other strategic places broke down due to poor maintenance, according to a report by the office of the Auditor General. 

The report is under discussion by the Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The cameras were a product of the integrated urban surveillance system for Nairobi metropolitan area implemented in 2012.

They were meant to ensure safety for residents and monitor traffic.

Key roads affected include Moi Avenue, Uhuru Highway, Kenyatta Avenue and Tom Mboya Street. The surveillance system has been heavily relied on to control traffic.

“In these circumstances, the surveillance system and security installations may still not be relied upon to enhance security for the county’s residents,” said Auditor General Edward Ouko.

Department of Transport and Public Works chief officer Fredrick Karanja confirmed that the cameras had not been working for long.

But he absolved the county of blame, saying the project was never handed to the county government for maintenance and therefore, it was not in the county’s budget.

Chinese firm

According to Mr Karanja, City Hall wrote to the national government asking to be given control of the system in March last year.

“The response was that we had to clear a pending Sh7.2 million bill owed to the contractor who maintains it before it could be handed over to us,” said Karanja.

“We are yet to settle this bill and that explains why the contractor has not resumed the project maintenance. If the Government can officially hand it over to the county, then we will be able to include it in our budget and ensure the cameras are working again,” he added.

The contract to install and maintain the surveillance system was handed to M/s Nanjing LES Information Technology Ltd, a Chinese firm in 2012.

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