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Government yet to effect digital migration project worth billions

By Martin Mutua | Feb 8th 2014 | 2 min read

By  Martin Mutua

The Government is yet to execute a controversial project in which taxpayers stand to lose close to Sh1 billion in the much talked about digital migration in a contract between the Kenya Government and a Spanish company.

Information Secretary at the ICT Ministry Ezekiel Mutua told The Standard On Saturday that the documents of the project are with the Treasury and no funds had been released to have it executed.

Mr Mutua, who defended the Government on behalf of Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi claimed no money was likely to get lost in the project. “There has been no single cent received so far. We signed the document and they went to Treasury for scrutiny to establish if they are in order. If Treasury finds they are not they will be free to cancel and if not the project should be up and running by next month,” he added.

Mutua was responding to a story we carried last week on how Kenyan taxpayers stand to lose Sh1.2 billion in the event the project is executed.

According to the contract, a copy of which The Standard On Saturday has seen, the project is between the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology and a Spanish company known as Algoritmos, process Y Disenos (APD) SA.

The contract is for the digital terrestrial television coverage rollout on the DVB-T2 platform in 10 sites countrywide, which documents show will cost 10.3888.903 Euros (about Sh1.2 billion). This, however, is exclusive of all Government taxes, including the 16 per cent value added tax.

The rollout of nine sites with higher voltage, which had recently been undertaken by the State-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) by a local company cost the taxpayers Sh550 million, the amount being inclusive of VAT, The Standard On Saturday had been told last week.

Yesterday however, Mutua who said he was responding on behalf of the ministry, said the project was conceived during the last regime and was part of a wider project that involved four other ministries with the Spanish Government.

“It is just like the Standard Rail Gauge project which is between Government to Government,” he added.

Mutua said the project was initially meant to supply equipment for revamping the Kenya News Agency but it was later felt that KBC would be more prudent to get the support in view of the digital migration.

Mutua justified the increased amount that had reached a billion shillings to what he termed as “virgin areas” that do not have any equipment and will require preparations.

But according to our sources, should KBC have entered directly into the contract with the company, the amount would have been cut by half since there was already a precedent by a local company that installed similar equipment in the 10 sites.


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