Kenyan auditor raises concerns over fibre optic network management

14 April 2021

Kenya’s auditor general has voiced concerns over the country’s National Fibre Optic Backbone (NOFBI) project over nebulous tendering processes.

In 2018/2019, the State Department of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) paid Chinese tech giant Huawei Sh1.7bn for the construction of the second phase of NOFBI. Nancy Gathungu said the taxpayers’ resources could have been lost in the project.

However, she added that there are no details in respect to the date the payments were made or who authorised the Exim Bank to release the payments. In the report for the State Department of ICT covering the year ended June 2019, Gathungu said the project lacks crucial documentation over its financing and management.

“Although the financing agreement indicated the government would sell out excess capacity commercially to the public and bill them to finance the loan repayment, there has been no billing done for the last five years it has been in operation,” she said in her report.

The service provision framework deal with other internet service providers has not been implemented, with no records provided detailing users and the amount payable by each.

“The government has therefore been funding the operations of commercial entities without recovering the cost, which amounts to lack of prudent use of public resources,” added Gathungu.