DPP orders probe into rape, HIV transmission claims at Unilever, James Finlay tea farms

Noordin Haji

Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has ordered investigations into the alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of female workers at Unilever and James Finlay tea farms that was revealed in a BBC exposé.

Mr Haji directed the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome to conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of rape, sexual assault, compelled indecent acts, sexual harassment and deliberate transmission of HIV or other threatening sexually transmitted diseases.

“These grave allegations are contrary to Sections 4,5,6 23(1) and 26 of the Sexual Offences Act as well as Section 6(1) of the Kenya Employment Act,” said Mr Haji in a Statement.

He also directed that the results of the investigation be filed within seven days.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott had earlier also called on investigative bodies in the country to take action following the damning expose by the BBC.

The exposé released on February 20 uncovered how sexual exploitation was rife on tea farms that supply some of the UK's most popular brands with local bosses exposed for preying on an undercover reporter.

Sexually abused

The BBC was also told by more than 70 women farm workers that they had been sexually abused by their supervisors with some testing HIV positive later.

Three managers have since been suspended.

Ms Marriot expressed her concerns about the disgraceful behaviour of the officials implicated in the investigation. 

She asked the companies to take action to protect their staff in Kenya and welcomed the commitment to investigate and cooperate with the Kenyan authorities.

Kenyan parliamentarians also called for an inquiry into the sexual abuse allegations.

Lawmaker Beatrice Kemei demanded that the two companies initiate legal action against the perpetrators and publish a statement within 24 hours.

She also called on more women who have been abused to volunteer information to her office.

She committed to engaging the government through CS Labour and Social Protection to further address the issue.