Launch of fibre-optic cable on course, says Ndemo

Published on 24/06/2009

By John Njiraini and James Anyanzwa

The East Africa Marine System (Teams) cable launch will go on as planned, despite controversies surrounding the Fort Jesus landing point.

A day after The Standard revealed the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) had halted construction works at the landing point at the historic Fort Jesus, Communications PS Bitange Ndemo maintained the landing was on course.

“We want to assure Kenyans and stakeholders that the landing of Teams cable is right on course.This is an important venture to Kenya and nothing should stand on its way,” he said.

He added the ceremony would be presided over by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Ndemo said since its inception, the process of laying the cable had been carried out transparently and with due observance of all legal parameters including environmental, cultural and natural heritage.

Contrary to an earlier assertion that the Teams project had overlooked a land Environmental Impact Assessment, NMK Director General Idle Farah who accompanied the PS said Teams had fulfilled all conditions.

“We will, however, advise from time to time it’s impact on the cultural heritage resources in the country,” he said.

But as preparations for the landing are put in high gears, it has also emerged the shareholding structure could change after some investors allocated shares failed to meet the deadline to pay for their stake.

The investors’ 90-day payment window expires today and only $37 million (Sh2.8 billion) has so far been paid by the shareholders including Treasury.

The $100-million fibre-optic undersea cable seeks to connect the East African region through Mombasa to the world’s fibre-optic communications backbone via Fujaira, in the United Arab Emirates.

The cable is a joint venture between Teams Ltd (consortium of Kenyan operators) with 85 per cent and Eitsalat (Dubai Telecom operator) with 15 per cent.

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