From left, EABL Group Finance Director Tracey Barnes (left), Group MD Charles Ireland and Kenya Breweries Limited MD Joe Muganda. Cofek Secretary-General Steven Mutoro has written to the Directorate of Immigration demanding that Ms Barnes’ stay in Kenya be terminated. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION
By CHARLES WOKABI
Immigration officials yesterday summoned a senior director of East African Breweries Limited (EABL) for questioning amid allegations of racial discrimination against her Kenyan colleagues.
The brewer’s finance director, Tracey Barnes, appeared before the Director of Immigrations and Registration of Persons in the afternoon for grilling.
She has been accused of mistreating and intimidating Kenyans working in the company as a way of pushing them out so she can replace them with foreigners.
On Tuesday evening, the directorate tweeted saying it had received the complaint against Ms Barnes and promised to take action.
“As per the complaint raised yesterday, the EABL Finance Director Tracey Barnes (foreigner) is at Nyayo House to answer some queries,” said the immigrations office through its handle @ImmigrationDept.
The complaint against Ms Barnes was lodged through a letter from a former employee of the regional brewer to the Director of Immigration.
The letter, signed anonymous, claims that Ms Barnes was frustrating Kenyans by assigning unrealistic targets and firing them if they fail to deliver.
“We have not met them for two years because of the unreasonable targets set by the group finance director. The targets are not only unrealistic and unachievable but purely meant to frustrate employees so that they are sacked and replaced with whites and that is exactly what has been happening.
‘‘It is very bad for Kenyans to be frustrated on their own soil by a foreigner yet we have a solid government with a strong immigration department which is supposed to protect its citizens,” the letter reads.
DISMISSED THE CLAIMS
EABL, however, dismissed the claims, saying they were untrue and calculated to tarnish Ms Barnes’ reputation.
“EABL has not received any complaint from any former or current employee regarding the allegations made,” the company said in a statement.
The Immigration office has called on other employees going through such cases to speak out.
The case has attracted the attention of the Consumers Federation of Kenya as well as many Kenyans on social media.
Cofek Secretary-General Steven Mutoro has written to the Directorate of Immigration demanding that Ms Barnes’ stay in Kenya be terminated.
“We are most aggrieved at the fact that your department has not only allowed too many unnecessary expatriates but some like the one adversely mentioned at the EABL, to cause an untold pain to Kenyan workers on their own soil,” he said.