The pain of being falsely accused of stealing at a work place can be stressful, demoralizing and traumatizing. The situation is even worse when you’re arrested and put behind bars for what you honestly believe is a witch hunt.
To one, Morgan Otieno, an employee at Victory Farms – a firm dealing in fish business in Kenya – accusations linked to fraud in the fish business is at the verge of ruining his successful career.
Reports indicate Otieno, who joined the company in July, 2018, has in the recent times had a tough time at his place of work after the company started receiving complaints from customers that the weight of the fish delivered didn’t match with what they ordered.
Our team established that, the complaints streamed in day in day out, prompting him to inform Yusuf Msendema, a processing supervisor in the company.
According to documents seen by Kahawa Tungu, a client by the name Florence had been complaining that the weight of the fish she ordered varied with the orders placed.
Some of the disparities went as high as 500Kgs.
However, instead of taking necessary action, or at least show concern, Msendema maintained that he didn’t expect any variance because the fish is weighed before the chilling process.
He added that the client’s scale should not be used and instead the people responsible for delivery should use the calibrated scale he had issued them.
Further concerns from the accused went unanswered.
The company is also accused of not fulfilling promises they give to new employees.
Kahawa Tungu established that, Otieno’s employment contract clearly stated that every Kg of fish sold would attract a bonus of Sh1. However, Victory Farms is yet to remit any payments, months later.
Nevertheless, despite improving the monthly sell from 300kgs to over 48,000Kgs, the company continues to frustrate him.
Victory Farms is also on the spot for being non-committal to an earlier agreement that the firm would make a monthly fuel compensation of Sh10,000, considering the accused used his vehicle for work related duties.
Instead, company officials accuse Otieno of using his vehicle to sell the ‘fish he steals’. In support of their accusations, they are in possession of a video footage to support their false claims – the fish in the trunk was on transit to a client.
We have also established that, as part of the accused’s roles in the company, in some cases he went an extra mile to try and satisfy customer needs, which included responding to customer needs which sometimes needed him to deliver the fish in person. One such case is when the video was secretly recorded.
Further, in the spirit of hunting down every move Otieno made, the officials went ahead to access his personal line without his consent.
The witch hunt, led to his arrest on February 18, when he was tricked to attend a meeting at Sindo Roo area only to find police on standby.
Otieno and one of the drivers were arrested and taken to Sindo police station.
He did not record any statement, but was presented in court the following day and charged with stealing fish worth Sh20,000, the driver was also charged but as an accomplice.
They were later released on a cash bail of Sh25,000.
Further reports indicate that the company continues to harass the accused even with the pending case in court. An internal disciplinary committee formed to handle the matter comprised of persons behind the witch hunt, undermining the independence of the process.
The first hearing of the case was set on March 20 but nobody showed up, not even the witnesses allegedly coached to write witness statements.
This informed the court to postpone the hearings to April 30.
As the matter remains pending in court, we have established that the two accused persons are yet to be paid their February and March salaries.
Our team also established that the management has been calling the driver to organize secret meetings, raising more questions on their ill motives.
Even as the two battle cases in court, leave alone their suspension on normal company duties, reports indicate the company is still facing large variances.
Many questions linger on why a man not in charge of weighing, packing or handling the fish waybills, is the one to take the blame of many officials involved in the process. None of the officials has been summoned to date, begging the question, are the accusations genuine?