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KQ whistle-blower Gire Ali is a criminal – CS Macharia

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Wednesday claimed that Gire Ali, the Kenya Airways employee who was suspended for filming and sharing a video of a China Southern Airlines plane landing with 239 passengers attheJKIA was a criminal who should be jailed for breach of security.

CS Macharia also insists that Gire deserved to be suspended as his action of filming the airport “exposed the facility to security threat”.

“The said whistle-blower, first of all is not one. You do not blow on a 787 (Airbus) arriving at 7 in the morning. That flight (China Southern Airlines) was not arriving in secret, he committed illegality as that is a security breach,” the CS told the National Assembly and Senate Joint Committee on Health on Wednesday.

He added that JKIA was a security installation and no one is allowed to film secretly.

“You can’t take a video at the airport. He is not a whistle-blower and the law should be applied as is required.”

The CS refused to delve into the circumstances under which the plane was allowed to land in Kenya, instead telling the committee that focus should be on enhancing measures towards ensuring proper controls and surveillance of the novel coronavirus.

Macharia’s remarks come five days after Gire alleged that his life was in danger and was suspended from work after filming the Chinese plane with 239 passengers on board touching down at the JKIA on February 26.

Increased fears over coronavirus

The filming of the flight was done on the back of increased fears over coronavirus importation into the country.

On Monday, the High Court stopped authorities from arresting or prosecuting Gire and ordered KQ to reinstate the petitioner.

Justice Weldon Korir issued the orders after Gire moved to court complaining that he was being targeted and that his life was in danger.

Mr Ali sued KQ, the Director of Public Prosecution, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the ATPU and the Attorney-General.

He listed the Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Aviation Workers Union, Institute of Huma Resource Management and the Health, Defence and Interior Cabinet secretaries as interested parties.

In his suspension letter dated February 27, Gire, a security agent at the JKIA, was told that he had breached Kenya Airways’ staff conduct guidelines.

“It has been determined that you be suspended from duty with effect from 27th February 2020 in accordance with provisions of clause 16.5 of the Company HR Policy Manual,” part of the letter signed by KQ Chief Human Resources Officer, Evelyne Munyoki, read.

The video caused uproar, with Kenyans accusing the government of exposing the country to the virus.

A day later, Justice James Makau also suspended for 10 days, the government’s decision to allow a resumption of non-essential flights from China to Kenya for days.

The judge has also issued an order stopping the government from allowing into the country by air, sea or land any persons from China or any WHO-designated hotspot affected by coronavirus outbreak in a separate case filed by two doctors.

The judge ruled that Kenyans will be exposed to the deadly disease hence the orders are justified.