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Kericho governor Erick Mutai demands arrest of sex abuse bosses following BBC expose

The County Government of Kericho has condemned the reported sex abuse that workers in leading tea firms in the county go through.

This follows an exposé aired by BBC, showing senior bosses demanding for sex in exchange for job favours.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, both the County Executive and the Members of the County Assembly asked the police to take action against the individuals who were largely mentioned in the expose.

Kericho Governor Dr Erick Mutai said the police have 48 hours to arrest the suspects, failure to which they will take action as leaders.

“We condemn sexual exploitation occurring within James Finlays and Ekaterra Multinationals, following the documentary aired by the BBC. The mentioned Culprits should be arrested immediately, and the British and Dutch Embassies should state their position,” Dr Mutai said.

The victims in the story narrated how they were infected with HIV after being trapped by the two contractors John Chebochok and John Asava to have sex with them.

“Within 48 hours, I’m directing the police to arrest Mr Chebochok, to arrest Mr Yebei, to arrest John Asava, and to arrest Jeremiah with immediate effect. If they do not do so, we will ask the police why they have been arresting hawkers in town and they cannot arrest real culprits that are torturing our women,” Dr Mutai said.

At the same time, women leaders in the county have threatened to walk naked if the police will not arrest the culprits.

This comes a day after the multi-billion tea company in Kericho James Finlay terminated its contracts with Mr Chebochok and Mr Asava.

“There is no place for behaviour of this kind anywhere in our business. We firmly believe that everyone should feel safe when they come to work at Finlays,” Finlays said in the statement.

The firm added that it has robust policies and procedures in place such as comprehensive guidance to staff, detailed and continuous training programmes, and an anonymous third-party whistleblowing hotline as well as dedicated welfare and medical staff available on-site to prevent abuse of any kind.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott has also condemned the abuse of workers in exchange for jobs, saying that sexual abuse and exploitation has no place in society.

“I welcome the commitment by the companies to investigate, cooperate with the Kenyan authorities, and take action to protect staff in Kenya,” Jane Marriot said.

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