Chinese Firm To Sue The Standard Newspaper Over SGR Employees' Reports

  • A series of articles carried in The Standard newspaper has opened a battlefront between the media house and the Chinese Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) that is running the Stanard Gauge Railway (SGR).

    In its latest expose on the ills at the SGR, The Standard revealed that there were at least 5000 Chinese nationals employed on the project.

    A months-long investigation by journalist Paul Wafula showed the massive workforce comprised of foreigners serving as civil and structural engineers, accountants, dieticians, cooks and locomotive operators.

    [caption caption="A cover page of the Standard Newspaper carrying a story on SGR (PHOTO/COURTESY) "][/caption]

    The scrutiny also found that a number of welders and carpenters working on the SGR project are Chinese nationals.

    In a statement on Wednesday the China Roads and Bridge Corporation through Mr Steven Yuan, a foreigner working as the entity’s Public Relations Officer, accused the media house of misleading the public.

    “The information published consists of inaccurate figures in terms of the number of Chinese staff working for the SGR Project construction. We would like to clarify that currently there are a total of 2,136 Chinese employees working jointly with 13,482 Kenyans in the project,” reads the statement in part.

    This implied locals accounted for at least 86 percent of the SGR workers even though what has been a major concern is that locals are, for instance, locomotive operators don't get an execution chance.

    CRBC claims that there are only 86 Chinese working on the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR given “most of the Chinese employees were not transferred to SGR Phase 2A, instead they went back to China.”

    Unknown to many is the fact that the firm has been in Kenya since 1984. In the statement, the corporation prides in having “numerous win-win outcomes” for the more than three decades they have been in Kenya.

    “Our cooperation with our Kenyan friends is mutually beneficial and of numerous win-win outcomes. However, this is without challenges some of which have been highlighted and relate to cultural differences and barriers. Nevertheless, these will be resolved with time as workers continue to interact and work together,” stated Yuan.

    He noted that CRBC retains the right to take legal action against the publication whose journalist has faced criticism from the state and a host of bloggers.

    This comes at a time Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has indicated it is only until 2027 that the SGR will be run 100 percent by Kenyan employees.

    [caption caption="Maraka Express (PHOTO/Courtesy)"][/caption]