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Opinion

Esther Passaris Is Talking And The World Not Listening, Sexual Harassment Ordeal By Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi

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The defiant Adopt-a-Light proprietor and the avid political figure has in the past days spent time explaining to the world the underdealings she had to undergo with celebrated Banker James Mwangi. Passaris has come out to reveal a sexual harassment reigned on her by the CEO who is yet to comment on the new developments.

The news has been received by mixed reaction with a good number of persons backlashing and accusing Esther of embarking on a blackmailing ploy against the Bank’s CEO. Whether this sexual harassment indeed happened or not is a matter of debate, and a judicial process would amicably square this. However, the fact that some people came out apologetic to the embattled CEO reveals the inner ogre of the society that don’t see anything wrong with a man making forceful sexual advances towards an unwilling woman.

Many women if you dug deeper are faced with similar cases from the corporate heads who feel with their helm of power that they can have their ways with anything and can sleep with anyone they wish. The sense of dominance in their evil minds show them they’re guaranteed to have their ways.

It’s not a secret that many ladies have been silently subjected to sexual harassments by their bosses and seniors but for the sake of job security and other business interests, they opt to keep silent for fear of severe repercussions. Remember these monsters have connections in high offices, have money to buy themselves out of justice. The corrupt state of the system makes it further baseless and waste of time even to report the matter. This why most ladies suffer in silence.

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Raspberry from the society is yet another factor behind the silence treatment given to sexual harassment, the society is judgmental and will always find a way to exonerate the instigator and accuse the victim of feigning, In the case of Esther evil minded contributors have alluded that she’s lying and that there was no way she could turn down sexual advances in exchange for business favors from the CEO. Who said dignity is dead, where’s it written that women are there to be used as sex pets by the monied to have their ways, is sex the legal tender in the new society.

Here’s the story behind the sex scandal as narrated by Esther herself.

Passaris-Adopt

HOW IT ALL STARTED

This is the story of how Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi destroyed my business after ‪#‎ISaidNo‬. In 2006, I met Mwangi through a mutual friend and he soon agreed to bring his organisation on board the Adopt A Light project by sponsoring and running an advertising campaign for the bank on 400 streetlight poles as well as High Mast structures. In fact, this act of corporate social responsibility is captured in their company records.

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The campaign was supposed to be rolled out on Thika Road and Outering Road among other locations. In anticipation of this business, Adopt A Light took a facility with Equity Bank and ordered the High Mast structures from our partners in South Africa. However, the whole project was thwarted before it could take off after Mwangi made several sexual advances towards me and I categorically turned him down. He was a friendly, listening and caring partner only as long as the chase was on. Later on through changes made to our contract after the fall-out, I realized he had all intentions not to honor our agreement in case I declined his advances.

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THE AFTERMATH

It didn’t take long after Equity Bank breached our agreement for Adopt A Light to be left with a massive bill to pick up. Before the matter spilled into the courts, Equity Bank hired Neptune Credit, an unlicenced debt collector whose approach to debt collection was unprofessional and not what one would expect from a bank of Equity’s stature. This was also unlawful as banks need or seek court orders before contracting the services of a debt collector. Or if they appoint one, the collector must start with the courts before taking any action. The story of how Neptune Credit harassed me and my children is captured under OB 38 of 15/4/2009 at Parklands police station. But as is pretty much the norm in Kenya, the case was closed before it started.

Mwangi only went to court for alleged debt after I won the highly compromised award (after lots of applications to deny me justice ) to try and stop the award. In spite of an IRAC report on the interest overcharge and the irregular debits, Mwangi adamantly refused to reverse the same. Even his managers realised his motives were personal and not professional because it is standard for banks to reverse proven irregular debits. This prompted me to go back and demand that the Bank pays in full what it owed my business and I have every intention of pursuing damages for destroying my company and the ensuing psychological distress.

WHY I CAME OUT

It took a lot of soul searching for me to share my experience after reaching my tipping point. It is true that Mwangi is a brilliant and talented banker, looking at what he’s achieved with the Equity brand. However, he was highly unprofessional with me.

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At the time, I informed Chairman Peter Munga ( as well as other senior managers) of the happenings but he couldn’t defend me as his hands were tied. Wherever Munga is right now, he knows the truth and I hope one day he’ll stand up for me. But even if he doesn’t, I know someone will eventually vindicate me.

The society must arise and protect it’s women from the evil sex pests in the society, think of the victim as your daughter, sister, or mother, would you argue the same in the favour of the accused? These things happen and in worst situations, ends up in rape. Sexual harassment isn’t excusable in whichever way. If Esther is lying, then Mwangi should ignite a libel proceeding if it’s true he should be packing ready for a jail term.

Society must make an environment easy for women to come out and expose the ogres hiding in holier than thou suits, and you protect them today and tomorrow it’s your daughter, mother or sister they’ll be harassed because after all, utado?


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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