Late last year, our investigative desk unearthed cases of covering-up corruption, sexual harassment, bullying and harassment of whistle-blowers and staff in general at the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa (IPPFA) Region Office in Nairobi.
The rot had been reported to the global office under the whistle blowing policy in the organisation, which prompted investigation into the allegations.
They complained of misappropriation of funds at the IPPF Africa Region office, cover-up of corruption, sexual harassment and bullying at the work place. However, it was not until nine months later after investigation was done that they got a response from the Central Office.
The Investigation was conducted by Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP from July 2017 to October 2017, which found the allegations of misappropriation of funds (fraud) to be true.
This is when mistreatment and bullying at work place started, prompting another investigation on the same. The investigation would be conducted by Lesly Thompson, an HR expert.
It looked like good news to the staffers until it was concluded in May 2018, and later swept under the carpet. Kahawa Tungu exclusively brings you the details of the report.
The investigator found that a couple of workers were subjected to workplace bullying by former regional manager, Lucien Kouakou who left on November 27 2018.
When Kouakou learnt that the employees had initiated the whistle blowing process at the Central office, he mistreated and meted frustrations against them despite whistle blowing being a protected act in the organisation.
Kouakou was supposed to keep acts and proprietors of whistle blowing confidential, but chose to expose them in open staff, SMT and board meetings in front of the director general to intimidate them.
According to the report that insiders say it was manipulated so that it did not reflect all the complaints and evidence provided, the complainants did not follow the right procedure in initiating the whistle blowing procedure.
The report says that it was wrong for them to go to the Central office, which could have affected funding. It further terms the act as undermining the African culture. Seemingly, funding and the African culture was more important than the code of ethics in any work place, according to them.
“…Thus publicly portraying it as a betrayal because it should have been dealt with locally by Mr Kouakou,” reads the report in part.
The report further indicates that some officers were targeted and sidelined by Mr Kouakou due to personal reasons, that led to withdrawal of some duties from their offices.
The targeted officers say that Mr Kouakou made their positions uncomfortable by making them feel guilty for whistle blowing and making comments which have caused some of their colleagues to treat them as being disloyal.
Mr Kouakou also threatened that he would downgrade the offices of some offices of officers who whistle blew, which looked like a plot to punish them.
The investigations which looks vague, and at many instances the investigator is unable to draw concrete conclusions, points out to an office not in order, with junior staffers living in fear of victimisation and losing their jobs.
Our source says that some choose to suffer in silence in an office where corruption is the order of the day. To them, they live the day as it comes.
Kahawa Tungu’s Investigative desk learns that Mr Kouakou, who is adversely implicated in the report has appealed against the decision to fire him. He is looking for a way back, which might see a big number of employees forced to leave or choose to suffer in silence.
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