Tourism CS Najib Balala’s older brother Jalal Balala is on the spot after his employees accused him of refusing to pay their salaries.
Jalal is the owner of Al Azizah General Trading and Events Organizing Company.
The staff, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) told Kahawa Tungu that their employer has not paid their salaries from December 2019 until March when they halted operations due to coronavirus.
According to a representative identified as Simon Chege, their boss has not only held their pay but is also holding their passports.
Mr Chege and 20 other Kenyans who also work for Jalal, said that they cannot make travel plans, noting that the Kenyan embassy has in the past made plans to repatriate its citizens.
“…And he’s also holding our passports, making it difficult for us to travel. There has been Emirates repatriation flight which was conducted by the embassy, but we couldn’t even make a step further for he’s cunning and acting strange (sic),” Mr Chege said.
Jalal is not new to controversy as in 2018, he had a woman from Belarus, Barouskaya Krystina, jailed for alleged theft and cruelty.
The woman had been booked to take care of the elder Balala brother but was instead accused of stealing two Samsung Galaxy phones valued at Sh240,000, one iPhone Gold 8, two wrist watches valued at Sh60,000, Sh8,000, $2,000 and 5,000 Dirhams.
Later, a Shanzu court let Krystina go after police admitted that the aforementioned goods were not in the suspect’s possession.
Approximately 50,000 Kenyans are based in Dubai and other UAE states.
On June 21, 400 Kenyans asked the Uhuru Kenyatta-led government to help bring them back as they are impoverished due to the global meltdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
They accused the embassy of not taking action in spite of their appeal.
Most of them lost their jobs after the tourist destination stopped receiving guests, altogether.
Two weeks ago, former Kiambu governor William Kabogo pledged Sh500,000 to help repatriate Kenyans stuck in Dubai.
“It is painful to see Kenyans suffering abroad and the government should send one Dreamliner to bring them back home. They are jobless and have nowhere to turn to.
“One of them texted me and told me that they had slept hungry for three days. I believe our ambassador can reach out to Dubai leaders and organise for Kenyans to be granted food and shelter,” Kabogo said.
In April, Ambassador Kariuki Mugwe appealed to all Kenyans in UAE to register with both the embassy in Abu Dhabi and Dubai consulates to help the officials have an accurate number of Kenyans residing in the country.
He also noted that those willing to return home would do so but at their own expense.
“The persons will be evacuated at their own expense with a one-way flight costing AED 2000 (Ksh58,000).
“You may also wish to indicate whether you need to travel back home for us to start the process of seeking for relevant clearances and approval for travel. The tickets will cost approximately AED 2,000 one way,” the notice dated April 15 read.
The government has evacuated Kenyans stranded in India and China, at their own cost.
Last week, students stuck in Sudan returned home with the help of local leaders and wellwishers.