Camellia PLC Response to UK media reports on Kakuzi Plc
RNS Number : 7114B
12 October 2020
12 October 2020
Camellia Plc (the "Company")
Response to UK media reports on Kakuzi Plc
An article published on 11 October 2020 by UK newspaper the
Sunday Times highlighted that Camellia Plc (the "Company") is
facing legal claims relating to allegations against employees of
one of its investee companies in Kenya: Kakuzi Plc. These claims
have been brought on a no-win no-fee basis by UK law firm Leigh Day
in the UK. Leigh Day is not licensed to practice law in Kenya.
Camellia purchased a 50.7% stake in Kakuzi Plc in the mid-1990s.
Kakuzi is a Kenyan agricultural company employing around 3,000
Kenyans and has been trading on the Nairobi Securities Exchange for
over 50 years. It is managed by its own board of directors on
behalf of its 1,300 shareholders, most of whom are Kenyan.
Further to the update provided on 8 October 2020, and in other
announcements to the market this year, Camellia wishes to reiterate
that it takes these complaints against its foreign operations
extremely seriously. The welfare of people working across the Group
and their communities is of vital importance. This is reflected in
the Company's values, culture, and by the examples presented in its
ESG report: Custodianship which can be found on Camellia's
Camellia understands that the allegations are being investigated
by Kakuzi to ensure wrongdoing can be addressed and internal
safeguarding procedures improved, if necessary. However, Kakuzi has
also advised its shareholders, including Camellia, in a statement
issued on 11 October 2020 , that it has a number of concerns with
the Sunday Times' article and Leigh Day's approach to these claims.
Kakuzi notes the following:
1. Leigh Day's insistence on anonymity for those making these
claims hinders the investigation to get justice for those who seek
it, or to resolve the claims quickly. As far as Kakuzi is aware,
few of the allegations have ever been reported to Kakuzi or the
2. In July 2020 Leigh Day dropped its UK Court claims against
Kakuzi. Kakuzi believes that Leigh Day is running a smear campaign
against Kakuzi and some of its customers.
3. It is unfathomable that a UK law firm regards Kenya's legal
system as incapable of dealing with alleged criminal acts by Kakuzi
employees against other Kenyans.
4. Kakuzi asked the Kenyan Director of Public Prosecutions to
investigate the allegations from Leigh Day and to take appropriate
steps under Kenyan law.
5. Kakuzi has fully funded independent legal advice and
professional counselling services available for any claimant as
part of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process recognised
under the Kenyan Constitution. Anonymity is provided within this
Camellia is aware that Kakuzi undertakes regular third party
local and international accreditation audits for the governance of
its sector. These are made available to Kakuzi's trade partners,
including the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and customers.
Camellia understands that Kakuzi has also updated an agreed Action
Plan following an ETI assessment in 2019 and Kakuzi would welcome a
fresh independent audit.
While Kakuzi rightly continues to investigate these grave
allegations, Camellia - as a responsible shareholder - fully
expects Kakuzi and its board to ensure that all allegations are
urgently and exhaustively examined, that justice is served if
wrongdoing is uncovered, and that key stakeholders including
customers are regularly updated on their progress.
Camellia is of course, as far as possible, investigating matters
in the context of the claims it is facing, and will continue to
update its own shareholders.
Camellia Plc 01622 746655
Tom Franks, CEO
Susan Walker, CFO
Panmure Gordon 020 7886 2500
Nominated Adviser and Broker
William Clutterbuck 07785 292617
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 12, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)