Uproar as candidate accused of sexual abuse elected director of tea factory

John Chebochok

The United Kingdom (UK) Multinational James Finlay has written a letter requesting the removal of John Chebochok from his position as Director of Toror Tea Factory, a Kenya Tea Development Association (KTDA) factory.

In a letter signed by Ben Woolf addressed to Enos Njiru Njeru, Wilson Muthaura of KTDA dated July 1, 2024 and seen by Sacco Review attributed the move to the ill reputation of Chebochok which was unmasked by the BBC documentary of February 2023.

“We are writing to request that you immediately remove John Chebochok from his position as Director of Tutor Tea Factory, a KTDA factory,

“As you know, as soon as Finlay’s became aware of all the allegations made against Chebochok in the BBC documentary of February 2023, we terminated his contract with Finlays, barred him from entering our property, and reported the allegations to the local and national police,” the letter reads in part.

Woolf said that Chebochok should not hold any position within KTDA despite being that no charges were ultimately brought as the undercover footage as well as testimonials from survivors featured within the documentary cannot be ignored.

He further said that by allowing him to hold a position of authority in the KTDA serves to counteract the excellent work being done by many stakeholders across the country and globally to tackle the issue of sexual and gender-based violence on tea farms.

According to Woolf, by Chebochok holding a position in KTDA also undermines the customer/supplier relationship and puts the reputation of KTDA and the wider Kenya tea industry, at risk.

He warned they will not purchase tea if the directive is not applied.

“Please be aware that we will not be able to continue to purchase tea from Totor Tea Factory while Chebochok holds the role of Director. We are monitoring this situation closely and trust you will take swift and decisive action on this matter. We look forward to receiving your urgent response,” the letter also reads in part.

In the expose made by BBC last year, over 70 women working at farms operated by James Finlay and Lipton Teas and Infusions (the successor of Unilever) said they been sexually abused by their supervisors with Chebochok being one of them.

By Vostine Ratemo and Frank Mugwe

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