Probe into unused N$12m speed cameras
The project's cost quadrupled from N$3.7 million to N$12.3 million but the cameras are still not operational four years later.
19 August 2020 | Police
Nearly four years after the installation of 12 high-tech radar traffic cameras on the B1 and B2 national roads, they remain out of operation, with their software lapsed and many having been vandalised.
The cameras formed part of a traffic management system for which the Namibian police reportedly
paid N$12 million.
Since early May the contract between the police and CSS Tactical Security Namibia has been the subject of a criminal investigation.
Worried stakeholders say the investigation has put paid to any hope of activating the 12 high-tech cameras.
CSS Tactical Security Namibia won the tender to supply, install and commission the Traffic Contravention Management system in April 2014. In an extensive written response on behalf of CSS director Amos Shiyuka, the company's legal team at Francois Erasmus and Partners said the original contract was signed in January 2015 for N$3.7 million.
A copy provided by CSS detailed the deliverables in terms of the initial contract, which included an accident management system, an integrated ANPR CCTV and a bus lane management system.
The contract also included the delivery of a camera image processing system, document scanning and indexing system, handheld mobile system, a fleet management system, training and first and second-level support services.
CSS was tasked to provide a back-end server including back-up system, Artemis fixed-speed and red robot cameras and a desktop computer as part of the original contract.
CSS's legal team wrote that the price more than tripled over the next two years, when the police demanded additional equipment and services. As a result, the costs increased to N$12.3 million.
The additional work included the 12 fixed radar cameras and 12 mobile cameras.
Moreover, “infrastructure shortcomings were identified at some traffic locations. As a result, quotations for networking and structured cabling in several regions was requested, accepted and paid for by NamPol after the structured cabling was duly installed.”
Shiyuka's legal team stressed that the company was not guilty of any wrongdoing and the criminal investigation would prove that.
“Our client is anxious for the investigation to be completed as it is confident that upon a thorough consideration of all relevant material, it will be exonerated from any alleged wrongdoing.”
The lawyers said after CSS Tactical became aware of the investigation, it submitted a file containing all relevant documentation pertaining to the project to the police.
CSS Tactical confirmed last week that apart from the January 2015 contract, the company also provided technical support for the police in respect of CCTV and biometric access systems at its head office and other branches, in separate contracts.
Commissioner Moritz !Naruseb, who took over as head of the NamPol CID in mid-July, confirmed on 23 July that the investigation remained active three months after the case was opened.
He said the case was “document-intensive and complex”.
!Naruseb declined to respond to follow-up questions two weeks later, stating only that the case was still under investigation.
!Naruseb also said the police would not comment on questions whether the 12 fixed cameras were in working condition.
It also remains unclear whether the Namibian Standards Institute (NSI) has granted the necessary regulatory approval.
The NSI refused to provide detailed comment on the legality of the radar cameras, citing client confidentiality. However, CSS's legal team wrote that the software licence had lapsed in the meantime.
The lawyers added that many of the cameras have been vandalised by the public.
The CSS legal team explained that when the 12 fixed cameras were installed, speed measuring standards were unavailable in Namibia.
It said the installation was successfully completed but in order to comply with the Metrology Act, the equipment had to be calibrated before it could be commissioned. This was done in collaboration with the NSI. Nevertheless, CSS said challenges arose with regard to regulatory requirements.
“In terms of the Metrology Act all speed measuring devices need to be type-approved. At the time speed measuring standards were unavailable in Namibia. The radar standard was subsequently gazetted in August 2018 only.”
By this time, CSS contract had expired. The legal team added: “The gazetting thereof was unfortunately not within our client's control.” NSI spokesperson Mutonga Matali said the authority had shared all relevant information regarding the instruments with the police and could not publicly comment.
Matali said the NSI's role to verify the accuracy and adequacy of the instruments in question was limited to “offering type approval, periodic verification, registration and supervision of trade mechanics, as opposed