Why half of Nairobi's Sh437m CCTV cameras are not working

Wednesday March 18 2020

Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee Chairman Wilfred Odalo (left) on February 4, 2018 when they grilled chief officer Fredrick Karanja over non-functional city cameras. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Most surveillance CCTV cameras installed in Nairobi City centre are not working, a senior county official has revealed.

Nairobi County Roads and Public Works Chief Officer Fredrick Karanja said that most of the 42 CCTV cameras installed in the Central Business District at a cost of Sh437 million malfunctioned and the county cannot repair them.

Appearing before Nairobi County Assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr Karanja said that City Hall cannot repair the cameras because the contractor who was awarded the Integrated Urban Surveillance System tender has not handed over the project to the country.


In September 2012, the then Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development awarded the contract to M/s Nanjing LES Information Technology Limited, a Chinese firm.

The project was conceptualised as a security project which would involve installation of security cameras, vehicle number plate recognition cameras, rehabilitation of signalised junctions and construction of one main control centre at Nairobi area police headquarters at Milimani and the redundant control centre at City Hall Annex.

Six years later, the chief officer confirmed that the project is still under the Chinese firm’s control, making it impossible to repair and maintain the cameras.


Mr Karanja said the company wants to be paid Sh7.2 million to repair the cameras and hand over the project to the county government.

“We had pledged to pay before the contractor could resume maintenance works and subsequent handover of the project to us but we are yet to settle the bill and that is why the contractor has not resumed the project maintenance,” said Mr Karanja.

But the PAC Chairman Wilfred Odalo faulted the City Hall for assuming responsibility for damages they did not cause.

In response, Mr Karanja said the pledge was made because of security is a priority given recent terror attack in the city at the Dusit hotel complex.

In May 2018, it was revealed that 26 of the CCTV cameras — installed in major roads such as Moi Avenue, Uhuru Highway, Kenyatta Avenue and Tom Mboya Street — were not working.

Those installed along University Way and at Lusaka Roundabout have also stopped working after they were damaged by students and a contractor respectively.

The committee resolved to invite the contractor in its next sitting to shed more light on the issue.