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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Three Qatar-based expats arrested in Kenya over ‘illegal recruitment’ allegations



Three expats who live and work in Qatar have been arrested in Kenya on charges of attempting to recruit staff illegally.

Kenyan Citizen News carried a report on Saturday showing three men being taken away by undercover officials outside the Hilton hotel in Nairobi.

They are Indian national Jayashankar Hadhavan Pillai, who is director of the Cambridge School and Doha Modern Indian School (DMIS); Briton David Throp, Headmaster of the Cambridge School; and Malaysian Chen Kim Loong, reported to be the manager of hotel and serviced apartment complex Holiday Villa.

In the report, Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Head of Security, Lazarus Opicho, said that the men were operating a “recruitment agency” without going through the proper official channels in Kenya.

All three men work for the Taleb Group, which owns a range of businesses in Qatar including three schools, two hotels and several construction companies.

An official at the Kenyan embassy in Qatar has told Doha News that the men were released from custody yesterday, but are required to stay in Kenya “until the matter is resolved,” which they say will be “soon.”

For now I can’t give many details, but from what we have been informed, it is that they were contacting recruitment in a procedure which is not allowable in Kenya. The matter is being addressed now,” James Omosa said. ”But I can confirm that there is no ban on Kenyans being recruited in Doha or elsewhere.”

Representatives of the Taleb Group, Cambridge School, DMIS and Holiday Villa were all unavailable for comment this morning. 

Tourist visas

Opicho says in the video that the men were in Kenya on tourist visas, rather than the business visas they would be expected to have during a recruitment visit.

The video also states that there is a ban on Kenyan nationals working in Qatar, which is incorrect.

In March last year, Kenya and Qatar signed an agreement on the employment of Kenyan nationals in Qatar. It promised that Qatar’s Ministry of Labor would forward its Kenyan counterpart all details of employers in Qatar who wished to employ Kenyan nationals, and also that both sides would closely monitor the work of employment agencies. 

Although Opicho did not go into details about what happened, it is possible that the group of men did not go through these required official channels before attempting to recruit staff from Kenya. 

Here’s the video report from Citizen News:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nxJKnZ_urQ?feature=player_detailpage]


Credit: Photo from the Cambridge School’s Facebook page

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