Kenya Airways Now Says It Suspended Employee After KAA Filed Security Breach Complaint

Kenya Airways employee Gire Ali with his lawyer Dunstan Omari on February 29 [Photo/Courtesy]

National carrier Kenya Airways has broken its silence over the recent suspension of one of its employees suspected to have recorded a video of a Chinese plane landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport amid coronavirus fears.

In a statement on Sunday, KQ said the suspension followed a complaint filed by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) over security breach at the airport by one of its (KQ) employees.

“As an operator at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), we are expected to adhere to Airport Security procedures and regulations set by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) as the Airport regulator and which are prescribed by law, ” the statement sent out by KQ Corporate Communications department reads in part.

“On 26 February 2020, KQ received a letter from the KAA stating that there had been a breach of airside security procedures at JKIA involving one of our employees. In accordance with standard HR procedure, the employee was suspended to allow a full investigation to take place to determine the facts of the matter.”

Read: Suspended Kenya Airways Employee Gire Ali Claims Life In Danger

The statement comes at a time the airline is under heavy criticism over the suspension of the employee identified as Gire Ali.

Ali is said to be the man, who recorded the video that went viral on February 26, moments after China Southern Flight No.6044 touched down at JKIA with 239 passengers from China, where coronavirus has left at least 2900 people dead and over 80,000 infected.

“Following a report of video recording of China Southern Airline aircraft at JKIA and circulation of the video clip widely on social media on 26 February 2020, and your alleged involvement in the matter, it has been decided that you be suspended from duty with effect from 27 February 2020 in accordance with provision of clause 16.5 of the Company Hit Policy Manual, ” the suspension letter read in part.

“This is to pave way for further investigations into the matter,” read part of a letter from the KQ human resource office.”

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Netizens have been calling for Ali’s immediate reinstatement saying he did nothing wrong by sharing the information.

The clip led to the suspension of flights from China after two Kenyan doctors moved to court.

The High Court also ordered that the government looks for all the 239 passengers and quarantine them at a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) facility.

Ali has since claimed that his life is in danger.

“They have been calling and I’m yet to go and meet the team because someone warned me that my life might be in danger and that they were watching me. I handed over my work identification documents through the fence and left. I fear about what could happen to me,” Gire is quoted by the Nation.

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KQ now says Ali will be accorded a fair hearing.

“This process will be conducted expeditiously in a fair and transparent manner, and in the meantime, the employee remains on full pay and retains all the legal rights. We take this opportunity once again to thank the public for their interest in this matter, ” said KQ.

On his part, Ali on Saturday vowed to move to court on Monday.

He said the suspension was against the law since it indicated that he will continue to receive full salary.

“The law says that if an employee is suspended legally, then they should receive half their salary,” said Ali’s lawyer Dunstan Omari.

Citing threats to Ali’s life, the lawyer added that he will still file a petition to have the State compelled to grant his client maximum security.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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