Controversy surrounding the planned sale of KenolKobil to Swiss company Puma Energy has taken a new twist following allegations of harassment of staff by the management.
An insider who spoke to the Nation but requested to remain anonymous said the company’s chief executive officer, Mr Jacob Segman, together with the general manager, Mr David Ohana, spent part of their time on Friday making employees sign a petition in support of the sale.
This follows a case filed by some of employees seeking to stop the buyout for fear of losing their jobs once the Swiss company takes over the oil firm.
If successful, the petitions could see the company win an ongoing court battle.
“The CEO and the general manager on Friday afternoon personally walked around all the floors of the KenolKobil head office requesting employees to sign a prepared document.
“The same document was circulated to KenolKobil’s depots and subsidiaries,” the source said.
The source further said that some employees, who were hesitant to sign, were reminded that the rationalisation process under way was yet to be conducted in their departments, and that their refusal to sign the document would be taken into account.
The company would not comment on the issue and sought to distance itself from the claims. “I do not know what you are talking about. I will not comment on this issue,” Mr Ohana said.
A copy of the document seen by the Nation read in part; “We, the undersigned, confirm that we have not authorised the said employees and any other person to commence legal action to block the sale of shares.
"Management has assured and explained that the potential transaction will not affect our employment contract with the company.”
Puma Energy is seeking to purchase more than 70 per cent of KenolKobil’s shareholding in a deal estimated to be worth more than Sh25 billion.
Although KenolKobil had earlier anticipated to close the transaction by July this year, it has been faced with court battles that have stalled the process.
Last month, some employees moved to court seeking an injunction against the planned buyout of the oil company for fear of losing their current terms of employment once Puma Energy takes over.
On Thursday, the deal received a fresh blow after an employee who was dismissed from the company in August succeeded in blocking the transaction through a court order until a case between him and KenolKobil, where he has sued his former employer for wrongful dismissal, is heard and determined.