|Cabinet secretary for Security Ole lenku being searched PHOTO/STANDARD|
Kenya: Two executives of a Chinese telecoms firm, ZTE, battling to retain a multi-billion-shilling tender to supply police with communication and surveillance equipment have been kicked out of the country.
ZTE is owned by the Government of China and its winning of the tender was challenged in court by Huawei Technologies Company. The latter, a privately owned firm, is also Chinese.
The deportation of the two ZTE executives adds a fresh twist to the controversy stalking lucrative national security tenders. Just two days before the two ZTE executives were bundled out of the country, Parliament put the brakes on a Sh12.3 billion contract awarded to mobile communications giant Safaricom by the Government to manage the national security communications system.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been featuring in adverts on print and electronic media for the same.
The two officials, Mr Yang Yong alias Thomas and Zou Lingying alias Eileen, directors in charge of government enterprises and marketing respectively, were picked up at dawn on Saturday, and held for over 12 hours before being deported around 10pm.
Chinese nationals working in Kenya often adopt English nicknames for the benefit of locals.
Authorities declined to comment on the reasons for their deportation.
CID officers reportedly arrested the three at 3am on Saturday from their residence at Mimosa Court, off Ngong Road.
They were taken to Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA’s) inland depot police post along Mombasa Road in Nairobi where they were held to await deportation.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku reportedly signed the deportation orders on Saturday at 6pm and they were taken away aboard a Qatar Airways to China.
Their lawyers, Mr C.N Kihara and Mr Assa Nyakundi, said they were not informed of the deportation and were yet to receive an explanation from the State on the reasons for the action.
Yesterday, ZTE Chief Executive Officer Liu Sen refused to comment on the matter saying their lawyers were handling it.
“I will not comment for now since we have left it to lawyers. Thank you,” Liu told The Standard on phone.
Lenku declined to comment when reached on phone. “No comment,” he replied when asked why the two were kicked out of the country.
It is unclear whether the deportation has anything to do with recent developments.
“These people are suspected of sponsoring individuals who have petitioned Parliament over the same and some guys up in government are not happy,” a source claimed.
The initial Sh17 billion tender was floated in 2011 and was to be funded by the Chinese government on condition that only Chinese firms were awarded the projects.