Pawan Kumar, an Indian who is stranded in Kisumu in a picture taken on February 26,2017. His employer has been illegally holding his passport over some job related disagreements. He is now indoors as he has no identification document and wishes to travel back to his home in India. (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)
An Indian national is stranded in the lakeside city after his former employer confiscated his travel and identification documents. Mr Pawan Kumar, who is being hosted by a friend, can neither travel nor fend for his family in India after being sacked by Rishi Haulers, a transport company based in Kakamega.
Mr Kumar came to Kenya in February last year as a tourist but ended up at a sugarcane plantation near Mumias Sugar Company.
Yesterday he told The Standard that Rishi Haulers proprietor Kaushik Panchmathia poached him from a pharmaceutical firm, where he was working as a sales manager.
“I was earning about Sh50,000 in my previous employment, and when I met Mr Kaushik, he convinced me to come to Kenya as he would offer me a better paying job,” said Kumar.
He said he was to be a mechanical trainer at the firm which operates cane transportation machinery.
And to avoid the tedious processes associated with getting an employment visa and work permit, Kumar acquired the cheap tourist visa.
“When I arrived in Kenya, he took me to the company located at Mayoni in Bungoma county and I was assigned general duties, with no negotiations over my pay,” said Kumar.
At the end of the first month, he was paid Sh10,000 but no explanation was offered, with the discussions over his exact pay brushed off.
Even though Kumar was later promoted to station supervisor, his pay diminished, a situation which made it difficult for him to take care of his basic needs, leave alone those of his wife and children in India.
“When I became the supervisor, there was an added responsibility. I would receive money and pay salaries to other workers, but not get my salary, and persuade his former employer to return his passport and visa.
All he can show for identification is his Indian driving licence and mail communications with his former employer.
“In case this man leaves this premise today, we do not know what may happen to him because being in a foreign country without travel documents is signing in for jail and deportation,” said the host who sought anonymity for fear of victimisation.
Mr Panchmathia denied that he knew Kumar or that he was a former employee. “I do not know what you are talking about,” he said on the phone. Regional Immigration Officer Peter Karoki said he would work with his counterpart in western Kenya to unearth the facts of the case.