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A new twist has emerged concerning the Sh437 million surveillance cameras installed in Nairobi City Centre in 2013 to improve security in the capital.

Most of the CCTVs have been revealed to be faulty but a new twist was brought into the project where it has now emerged that the government is yet to fully pay for the project, more than four years since the project was handed over to the Ministry of Interior.

In September 2012, a Chinese firm – M/S Nanjing LES Information Technology Limited – was awarded the contract to install a new traffic management system, construct a control centre and install associated software.

However, ever since the firm completed the project in November 14, 2013 and handed over the project to the national government in April, 2014, the government is yet to pay Sh72 million to the Chinese firm.

M/S Nanjing manager Michael Lu, appearing before Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, said that still owes them money for the project.

“We were not paid in full when we handed over the project. We have not been paid Sh72 million and we have requested for it from the government many times,” said Mr Lu.

Engineer Silas Gitau, from the National Government’s Metropolitan department, admitted that the government is yet to fully settle the money because the entire amount for the project was not budgeted for.

“Payment depends on whether the money is available in the budget and I do not think the money was fully available in the budget at that time,” said Eng Gitau.

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But in another twist, both Eng Gitau and Mr Lu blamed contractors working for Nairobi County government for damaging the fibre optic cables used by the surveillance cameras leading to most of the being faulty.

Currently, 26 out of the 42 CCTV cameras are not functional and cannot be relied on to provide security. The 26 cannot therefore be relied upon to enhance security for the residents by detecting number plates.

Eng Gitau said that the project was handed over to the national government while in good condition but due to damage to fibre optic cables and power cables by the contractors has resulted in breakdown of communication between the control centre – located in City Hall Annex and police headquarters – and the several surveillance points.

“They have failed to function because of fibre optic cables being cut by the various contractors working within the county as well as vandalism of power cables resulting in transmission problems. There is also lack of maintenance,” he said.

Mr Lu also confirmed that all the 42 cameras were working when they handed over the project to the national government and they continued to do so even after the lapse of a six-month liability period contained in the contract.

Nonetheless, City Hall Public Works and Infrastructure chief officer Engineer Fredrick Karanja termed the assertions from the two as allegations saying that the contractors do not belong to the county but are only issued permits by City Hall.

“We only issue permits for the contractors and so they are not ours. They only ask for permit so that they can carry out their activities and we give them conditions,” he said.

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