Gire Ali, a security agent at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), who was suspended after recording 239 passengers arriving at the air station on Wednesday, February 26 aboard a China Southern Airlines plane amid coronavirus fears, claims his life is in danger.
Speaking exclusively to K24 Digital on Friday, Ali said “so many mobile phone numbers have been calling me, but I fear the callers are out to establish my whereabouts”.
“As a result, I refused to receive the calls because I believe they are tracking me down,” said Ali.
The suspended Kenya Airways employee told us that on Thursday — before being ordered to leave the station — he was interrogated for at least six hours, with the senior security officers demanding to know why he was subjecting the airport to national and global scrutiny.
“In my six-hour interrogation, which began at 11am and ended at 5pm, I was intimidated and harassed by the senior airport staff,” he said.
“After grilling me for that long, they told me to surrender my station access cards and wait for the company’s verdict on the fate of my job.”
Ali, who has worked at the JKIA for one-year-and-two-months, says even as the firm conducts its independent investigations, he is “ready to cooperate with the investigators, but I have to be assured of my safety”.
Recounting the Wednesday incident that has now landed him in trouble, Ali says after the China Southern Airlines plane touched down at the JKIA, he and other junior security officers refused to have the passengers cleared for arrival.
“The plane stayed on the airside for one hour as we stood our ground that the passengers won’t be allowed to alight and enter Kenya. However, a single call from a senior government official to our lead security officers changed everything! Within 40 minutes, all the 239 passengers had been cleared for arrival, much to our shock,” said Ali.
The youthful man says his job “entails ensuring the safety of passengers who land at the airport”.
“I am a security agent at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, specifically attached to the Kenya Airways. Professionally, my job is referred to as ground-handling. We also help passengers who lose their belonging on the plane to retrieve the items.”
In his suspension letter dated February 27, KQ said Ali throughout the suspension period will be required to make himself available to relevant airport authorities, including his manager and the investigating team.
The company advised him against being “uncontactable”.
KQ, in the letter, further said Ali will be paid his full salary throughout the suspension period.
“It has been determined that you be suspended from duty with effect from 27th February 2020 in accordance with provisions of clause 16.5 of the Company HR Policy Manual,” part of the letter signed by KQ Chief Human Resources Officer, Evelyne Munyoki, read.