, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – The row for the control of space at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has taken a new twist after duty free shops associated with businessman Kamlesh Pattni were re-possessed by KAA in the early hours of Thursday.
The Diplomatic Duty Free Limited Company shops belonging to the controversial tycoon were forcefully taken over by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and goods removed.
This follows Wednesday night’s expiry of a lease agreement between Pattni’s Duty Free shops and the Kenya Airports Authority.
“Everything was done within the law. The lease agreement expired on Wednesday night,” a KAA official told Capital FM News.
Workers who reported to work expressed shock at the development and claimed that no notice was given and property worth millions of shillings was destroyed.
“At 12.30 am, I was called and told that the shops were being destroyed. I was not aware and I am sure that our bosses also had no knowledge of what was going on,” a sales lady operating one of the shops told Capital FM News.
“This is like a criminal offence. We really want the government to come out clearly and tell us what is happening. This is unacceptable,” she said.
“As you can see the rubble behind us here, it is like the Dandora dumping site,” one of her colleagues charged.
There has been a controversy over ownership of the multi-million duty free business at Kenyan airports which Pattni has been operating for several years now.
The employees who stood by while the merchandise was being carried away stated that such action sent a wrong message to potential investors.
“If an international airport can be invaded by thugs, then as a country, we are in for a surprise. What is remaining is for them to invade State House,” they said.
“We were all still shocked. How come this has happened only to us? We demand an explanation to all this. Whether it is Pattni or whoever, we do not care but we are the ones who are suffering here.”