Kenya Railways defends China firm against claims of secrecy deals

A standard gauge railway passenger train. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A standard gauge railway passenger train. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Railways (KR) has dismissed reports that China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) employees are being forced to sign a secrecy agreement.

KR board chairman, Michael Waweru, termed as falsehoods reports that the firm's employees are being forced into an agreement that compels them to not disclose information about operations of the Madaraka Express.

He said the parastatal has formed a board committee to spearhead an investigation into claims of mistreatment.

Among the issues to be addressed with urgency are the operator’s staff concerns, the general operations of both the passenger and freight services.

“The committee will also delve into environmental and wildlife conservation concerns being raised regarding the SGR project and if found necessary an independent auditor will be appointed for that purpose,” said Mr Waweru in a statement.

The board committee, he added, will submit its findings in a report in three weeks.

Mr Waweru said that upon conclusion of investigations, appropriate action will be taken based on the recommendations of the team.

This comes a day after Labour CS Ukur Yatani constituted a team of senior Ministry officials to investigate claims of racism and discrimination against local staff.

The CS said the allegations, if true, point to a violation of both Article 41 of the Constitution and the country's labour laws. He promised that appropriate corrective action, including prosecution, would be taken against those found culpable.

Mr Yatani ordered the team to carry out thorough investigations and report back to him within seven days.

On Wednesday, government spokesman Eric Kiraithe asked Kenyans to give ongoing investigations into the matter a chance.

At the same time, he asked the public to bear with the Chinese and appreciate the work they are doing.