Kenya - Immigration officials summon French, Armenian Telkom staff over work permits

Telecoms

The Immigration Department has summoned three French nationals working for Telkom Kenya for overstaying their special passes.

The investigations by the agency also targeted two suspicious Armenian nationals said to be working for the company and revealed there were nine expatriates based at its headquarters.

Director of Immigrations Major-General (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa said the three are expected to appear before the immigration officials Friday as part of ongoing investigations into the infiltration of foreigners working without permits for some multinational companies in the country.

“We have investigated and found that the special passes issued to one Mr Laurent, Mr Vincent and Anne Stagrot have expired,” said Mr Kihalangwa.

He said immigration officers had screened the documents of nine expatriates working at Telkom Kenya to authenticate the legality of their stay in the country.

He further said: “When they honour their summonses we would want to know why they are operating without the required documentations before we decide on the next course of action,” said the Immigration boss.

The Immigration Department had sought a list of all expatriates working for Telkom Kenya, but the company did not include the names of two Armenians, one working as a technician and another as a personal assistant to Chief Technology and Information Officer Jean Garcia.

The two are Ms Tatevik Khurshudyan and Mr Yeghoyan Vahagn. They are said to have been seconded as contractors by a leading supplier for Telkom Kenya, ZTE.

The Nation obtained an email written by Mr Garcia to a Mr Li on October 1, calling on him to move with speed to expedite the issuing of permits to the two Armenians.

“About Tatevik, she must have tomorrow an “exit visa” as a paper from ZTE proving she is your employee as she will travel within 10 days with her child. Mr Blade committed to bring them at 10.30 am,” reads part of an email dispatched to Mr Li.

The letter further stated: “Dear Mr Liu take this as a very serious issue as transition of contracts is ongoing between investors and TK shouldn’t recommend ZTE contracts if you prove you are legally employing. Priority is Mrs Tatevik.”

Already, Telkom Kenya and Mr Garcia have been sued by a local activist, Mr Amos Mokua, over claims of racial discrimination and hiring of expatriates for jobs that can be done by Kenyans.

Reacting to the claims, Telkom Kenya Chief Corporate Communication Officer George Mlaghui dismissed allegations of racial discrimination against Kenyan workers in the company where French Telkom owns 70 per cent of shares.

“These contractors are not Telkom Kenya staff and thus do not draw a salary or any direct benefits from the business as remuneration and or salary.

“We currently have two contractors of Armenian origin seconded to us from our suppliers that are assisting us with short term projects. These Armenian contractors are not employees of Orange Telkom Kenya," Mr Mlaghui said in a statement.
Source: Daily Nation 28 October 2015