Nakuru probes use of funds in Sh200m internet project [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) County assembly's information communication and technology committee will conduct investigations to determine whether funds were spent on the Sh200 million internet connectivity project without approval.
On June 5, interim Speaker John Macharia directed that a comprehensive report be tabled in the House providing details on how the project was funded and implemented. The move followed Dundori MCA Stephen Kihara's request for a statement from the committee on the status of the State House-funded project.
Issues to be looked into include clarification on whether the county government had spent any funds on the initiative, which was not among projects approved by the assembly. "We want to know how much has been spent so far, how the Internet is being administered and who is doing what. Who is implementing the project and the current status of the network," said Mr Kihara.
Since the launch of the free Internet on March 30, there has been debate on its accessibility. "Delayed connectivity has denied residents a chance to actively engage in the budget making process, a critical objective the connectivity is meant to meet," he said.
The project is meant to cover a radius of 10 kilometres from the county headquarters. Residents should be able to access it through the Nakuru Bila Wire account.
While the MCAs demanded to know how much the county government had spent on the venture, project leaders said ''zero shillings'' had been spent. "The initiative was purely a national government project. We were given a proposal to be the pilot town and having found it an invaluable initiative, we accepted it. Zero shillings were spent from the county accounts," said Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua on the telephone.
The county government is yet to receive the network's administrative role from Mr Itumbi's team to signify completion of its connectivity.
Mr Mbugua said on completion of the structural and functional roll out, the Dennis Itumbi team is supposed to hand over the administrator's function to the county government as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding.
Although in an earlier interview, Mr Itumbi indicated failure of the connectivity but said they had plans of involving experts from Canada to revamp the internet.
"We are working with experts in Canada who have installed free Wi-Fi in several towns in the world. We also want to prove to the people who have been in government for 50 years that towns can be connected to free Wi-Fi," Mr Itumbi had said during an earlier phone interview.
The availability of the internet to users within particular radium depends on the limited speed of the network as installed by the provider as Arcadeus Linus, a Computer and Internet Connectivity expert said.
He said the network set for reading emails if overloaded with huge megabyte downloads will be inaccessible to its users as it cannot sustain the bandwidth. "Each network has a limited speed which supports particular tasks. You cannot make heavy downloads on a speed for reading emails and doing research. It will collapse and be inaccessible," said Mr Linus.
The internet expert however said buildings affect the speed and the accessibility of the Wi-Fi.
He said for an average speed connection which will require installation of the strategic boosters using cables depending on the radius, the Sh 200 million to be spent on Nakuru Wi-Fi will be sufficient.
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