KENYA AIRPORT AUTHORITY ACCUSED TO PLAY ALI BABA WITH DUTY FREE SHOP
(Posted 01st August 2013)
News of a cloak and dagger raid on Jomo Kenyatta’s main duty free shop in the early hours of today, starting reportedly not long after midnight, has shaken observers and a number of regular sources at Kenya’s main airport, with mails, tweets and Facebook messages starting to come in thick and fast not long after the raid had started.
A long running lease dispute which has played out before the country’s courts for several years now, was apparently moved to the platform of hooliganised self administered justice by gangs of KAA personnel, who were clearly set to ambush the staff and management of the duty free complex, in view of hundreds of passengers who must have been perplexed to the maximum, witnessing the scuffles and invasion of the shops which to them must have looked like an unfolding robbery.
One regular source from JKIA in fact insisted that the duty free company had a valid court order to prevent exactly that from happening but added: ‘When has KAA respected court orders? Are they not the ones who in cohorts with others destroyed billions of shillings worth of residences, homes and property some time ago, claiming they were taking back airport land? Did they not ignore an injunction served on them to prevent that destruction? Are they not guilty of contempt of court I want to know? And as if they learned no lesson from that public relations disaster, now they do it again? I truly hope that the owners sue the daylight out of them and that the board of directors, the chairman, the CEO and those directly involved are held personally liable and lose their life savings in paying personal compensation for the role they played. If Kenya does not respect the rule of law, no matter how hard the circumstances, what is left of our republic at 50? Those visitors leaving Nairobi last night, what impression of a lawless country will they take home with them. In front of everyone, really? ’
Multiple messages to a similar effect were received and pictures are now emerging from JKIA via Twitter and other social media of duty free goods thrown out of the building, piled up, exposed to the elements of weather and a target for opportunistic thieves and looters.
Staff of the duty free shop complex were reportedly left in tears, some claiming their personal property too was mishandled and got lost, threatening to sue KAA for the losses and damages they suffered. Suggestions were made about excessive force being used, expensive goods being deliberately ‘banged around’ and by the look of it almost intentionally damaged and that restraint and managerial oversight were glaringly absent to keep the situation calm. This for sure was not KAA’s finest hour and whatever they have coming their way as a result of the action taken last night from subsequent court action and through court orders, they richly deserve.