Politics and policy
Shelter Afrique defends its boss over assault claims
Posted Tuesday, July 24 2012 at 21:25
Shelter Afrique is locked in a stand-off with the government after the financier said its managing director cannot be arrested for alleged assault because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.
The Pan-African housing financier has written to top government officials demanding the withdrawal of an arrest warrant issued against Alassane BA for alleged assault of Karen Kandie, its finance director.
It has also expressed displeasure over the handling of the matter, arguing that Mr Alassane has been accused of wrong doing before the conclusion of investigation.
Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi said Mr Alassane’s diplomatic immunity does not cover cases of assault and that he should be arrested, a position supported by the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko.
“As a senior employee of Shelter Afrique, Mr Alassane enjoys all rights and immunities set out in Clause 23 of the host country agreement,” Shelter Afrique wrote in a letter to Mr Mwangi.
“The facts reported in the press are indisputably one-sided and heavily skewed against one of the parties. That is most unfair and improper,” added the letter signed by Shelter Afrique’s company secretary Ruth Onyancha.
The letter was in response to Mr Thuita’s memo to Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere to arrest Mr Alassane.
“It is clearly implied in this provision that the immunities enjoyed under the host country agreement are not absolute,” Mr Thuita told the Police Commissioner.
Shelter Afrique is asking for withdrawal of the arrest warrants saying that witnesses have discounted the assault allegations.
In her statement to the police, Ms Kandie claims that Mr Alassane physically assaulted her in his office on June 28, causing her bruises to her limbs, when she went to confront him regarding her end-of-year performance appraisals.
Shelter Afrique said that the complaints were connected to a secret recording of Mr Alassane during Ms Kandie’s performance review process in which the managing director demanded that the recording equipment be surrendered to his office.
“The allegation of assault or even a scuffle in the process is hotly contested and denied by Mr Alassane and a number of those who were present,” said Shelter Afrique in the letter that was copied to the UN, Mr Iteere, the Director of Immigration and Mr Tobiko.
The high-profile assault case has drawn the interest of senior government officials, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has asked the Immigration ministry to have Mr Alassane’s diplomatic immunity stripped or have him face the law for assault.
The board of the housing financier will this morning conduct an inquiry into the events that led to the clash between Mr Ba and Ms Kandie.