In Summary
  • Mr Yang Yong alias Thomas and Zou Lingying alias Eileen were at the centre of a  protracted multi-billion-shilling security tender battle between ZTE Corporation and another Chinese company Huawei Technologies, that dated back to 2012.
  • Officially, the government tendering process takes between three to six months to award.
  • Duale explained that although the National Assembly Speaker has previously allowed two committees to investigate the same issue, he believes that it is a waste of public funds since the committees have the same documents.

When two Chinese executives working for the ZTE Corporation in Nairobi were picked up from their houses in the wee hours of the morning, detained and quietly deported a few weeks ago, it could have passed as a simple case of undesirable foreigners being ejected from Kenya.

But it later emerged that the two — Mr Yang Yong alias Thomas and Zou Lingying alias Eileen — were at the centre of a  protracted multi-billion-shilling security tender battle between ZTE Corporation and another Chinese company Huawei Technologies, that dated back to 2012.

However, while the case was proceeding in court, Safaricom partnered with Huawei to work on a proposed Sh12 billion project to install a high-tech security system that includes CCTV cameras to fight rising insecurity in Nairobi and Mombasa. The project has the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta but is also the subject of parliamentary inquiry.

The puzzle of the deportation of the ZTE executives, ordered by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, intensified when it later emerged they may have lobbied Parliament to investigate the Huawei link to the tender awarded to Safaricom.

But why they had to be deported remains unresolved.

The intrigues that afflict the security tender are now typical of many big money tenders floated in government where brokers, top government officials and businessmen have reduced the tenders to basic money-maker machines and in the process delaying development.

The latest controversies involve the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway, Sh24 billion laptop tender, Sh4 billion NSSF Tassia project, the Sh43 billion Kenya Pipeline Corporation construction deal, and the building of offices in Nairobi for legislators at a cost of  Sh5.3 billion.

The numerous cases lodged at the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) and the High Court challenging the awards attests to the competitiveness of the tender awards and the cut-throat business it has become.

In some instances, death threats are issued against those thought to be blocking the big deals. Last week, a KPC manager received a bullet in an envelope with a letter condoling with him over his supposedly impending death.

Page 1 of 2