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Kenya: 58 people sue Coca-Cola for alleged contaminated drinks; claim they developed food poisoning-related complications

Author: Gaitano Pesa, Business Daily (Kenya), Published on: 25 October 2019

"10 witnesses to testify in Coca-Cola Busia contaminated drinks case"

At least 10 witnesses have been summoned to appear before a Busia judge next month to testify in a class action suit where 58 people have sued soft drinks giant manufacturer Coca-Cola for allegedly selling contaminated drinks nine years ago. High Court judge Kiarie Waweru indicated the judgment on the long-running legal tussle may be delivered before the end of this year.

Efforts by Coca-Cola to reach an out-of-court settlement had failed after the Funyula residents rejected a proposed compensation at the rate of Sh45,000 each. The residents, through petitioners Stephen Serulo, Zablon Barasa and Richard Sikudi, sued the Atlanta-based company, its Africa subsidiaries (Coca- Cola Central, East and West) and local agent Equator Bottlers on behalf of 55 others. The petitioners had earlier presented medical results in court showing that they were treated for food poisoning after most of them complained of acute abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting...

The claims that the consumers took contaminated soda was corroborated by witness statement of the Kebs quality assurance officer Jared Omondi that was presented in court. In his testimony, Mr Omondi said the samples were taken from various parts of Funyula and were analysed at laboratories in Kisumu and Nairobi. The soft drinks, he alleged, were later found to have been contaminated. Kebs, relying on the results from the samples, filed a case against Equator Bottlers at the Kisumu High Court. Equator chief executive pleaded guilty and was fined Sh100,000 or six months in default...In December 2018, Coca Cola, through Anjarwalla and Khanna Advocates, requested the plaintiffs’ lawyers to consider the compensation package as a final settlement of the matter.

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Related companies: Coca-Cola