UK supermarket chain Tesco is yet to reinstate avocado supplies by Murang’a-based company Kakuzi, as it presses for comprehensive human rights reforms by this firm. On October 11, 2020, the British retailer temporarily dropped Kakuzi as its supplier of avocados pending investigations into alleged assault and sexual misconduct by some of its employees.
This ban still stands nearly a year later. Through its Kent-based parent Camellia Plc, Kakuzi has been sued over the alleged human rights violations by its employees, which it has denied. The UK-listed company Camellia owns 50.7 percent of Kakuzi.
Law firm Leigh Day said that 79 Kenyans had launched a legal claim in the High Court in London against Camellia for alleged human rights abuses by security guards employed by Kakuzi, its Kenyan subsidiary. The allegations, dating from 2009 to January 2020, include rapes, attacks on local villagers and a man being beaten to death.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Kakuzi this week pledged to accelerate human rights reforms to comply with international standards.