Britain’s biggest grocery retailer announced yesterday that it has suspended avocado supply from kakuzi following a lawsuit that accuses Kakuzi’s security guards of perpetrating horrific abuses since 2009.
Tesco announced the move after law firm Leigh Day said on Sunday that it had initiated legal action against UK firm Camellia, whose subsidiary runs the site. The lawsuit, that is filed on behalf of 79 Kenyans at London’s High Court, accuses the subsidiary Kakuzi of employing security guards alleged to have perpetrated horrific abuses since 2009.
The abuse include killings of people walking in the firm and along the firm, rape of pregnant women and teenagers, attacks by watchmen in the firm and false imprisonment.
Camellia however claims that despite having acquired 50.7% of the firm it does not have operational and managerial control over it as most of the action takes place in Kenya where the firm is located.
Kakuzi which supplies avocados to several UK supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s and Tesco will face major losses as the supply accounts for almost 40% of the avocados exported by the frim.
Tesco said that they are working closely with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), alongside other ETI members, to investigate the issue and ensure that necessary measures are taken to protect workers.
Kakuzi said they take the accusation very seriously and are investigating the allegations so that if there has been any wrongdoing, those responsible for it can be held to account and if appropriate and the safeguarding processes can be improved.
Leigh Day, the firm taking legal action against Kakuzi said the lawsuit was brought with the support of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission and the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)