Legal costs in Kakuzi human rights abuse claims shoots to Ksh675 million

Two Kenyan journalists arrested in Tanzania fined Ksh46,000 as border row escalates. [Photo courtesy]

Kakuzi, a Kenyan based agricultural firm owned by UK-based multinational, Camellia Plc has incurred legal costs of Ksh675 million (£4.8 million)  in battling human right abuse claims.

Kakuzi together with another of its affiliate are battling the human rights violations in a London court.

Seventy-nine people, including Kakuzi’s former employees have presented themselves into the case being executed by Lay Deigh law firm.

It has been alleged that Kakuzi guards have in the past 10 years raped, killed and maimed villagers in Murang’a where the expansive agricultural firm is located.

Camellia in a trading update as reported by Business Daily stated that:  “The two African companies have recognised alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms locally so that any allegations are properly examined,” Camellia said in a trading update.

“The cost of this ADR process will be expensed in 2020 and in the future and will be in addition to the £4.8 million (Sh675 million) of legal and related costs incurred in 2019 and up to June 30, 2020 as previously disclosed.”

With the skyrocketing legal costs of the suit, Kakuzi says it has included the cost on its accounts but is waiting for the matter to be concluded and know the total cost.

The total legal costs once indicated will be communicated to Kakuzi investors, Kakuzi’s managing director Chris Flowers further told the Business Daily.

The rising legal costs come at a time when Kakuzi is battling suspensions by leading European grocery retailers following the human rights violations claims.

It started with UK’s largest grocery retailer, Tesco which suspended avocado supplies by Kakuzi.

Early this week, another UK retailer Sainsbury’s also froze avocado supplies by Kakuzi, a move that was also taken by Germany’s Lidl.

The three European retailers insisted that they cannot continues their business relationship with Kakuzi until the matters raised are fully investigated and dealt with accordingly.