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FKE wants state to reinstate licenses of blacklisted security firms

 FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Employers are demanding the immediate reinstatement of nine security firms that were deregistered by the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) last month.

While cancelling the licenses, PSRA Chief Executive Officer Fazul Mohamed said that the blacklisted companies had breached four regulations as guided by the Private Security Regulation Act No. 13 of 2016.

“Pursuant to Sections 10 (c), 31 (b) and 32 of the Private Security Regulation Act No. 13 of 2016, the Authority hereby notifies users, prospective users, representatives of users of private security services and the general public that it has with immediate effect cancelled the certificates of registration and licences of the private security companies listed in the schedule hereto,” said Fazul.

The blacklisted firms are Victory Protective Services Africa Limited, Victory Consultants Limited, Bedrock Security Services Limited, Bedrock Security Alarms Systems and Product Limited, Senaca East Africa Limited, Hipora Security Solutions Limited, Salama Fikira International (Kenya) Limited, Marco Security Limited, and Superb Marketing Solutions Limited.

The PSRA boss warned the public against engaging or seeking security services from the deregistered companies.

But the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has termed the move draconian, and one that failed to adhere to fair administrative processes enshrined in the Constitution. 

According to the umbrella employers' body, there was no prior written notice, no opportunity for the companies to defend themselves nor a chance to address identified gaps.

"This hasty decision has resulted in substantial losses for the affected companies, impacting the livelihoods of countless youth, and causing disruptions for clients who rely on these services," said FKE's Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo in a statement Tuesday.

The federation expressed disappointment that the cancellation had exposed the sector to severe job losses, and business disruptions, and caused reputational damage.

The employers further called for the suspension of the guard force numbers pending comprehensive consultations. Moving forward, all private guards are expected to be issued with security force numbers - a move aimed at enhancing accountability in the sector.

"It is crucial to determine whether the assigned numbers are a product of training and guard registration or if they stem from employment by a registered security firm or club. This clarity is vital for the industry's stability and the effective implementation of any related regulations," said Mugo.

Acknowledging existing challenges in some of the counties, the federation is advocating for the gazettement of revised regulations after conducting public participation in all counties so that the regulations reflect the needs and concerns of all stakeholders.

"The federation urges the PSRA executive to cease threats to the security firm’s clients based on contracting with unlicensed or unregistered service suppliers. The process for licensing and registration must be streamlined by the PSRA board before any enforcement actions are taken. We advocate for social dialogue in the sector," said the FKE chief.

Mugo further called for the activation of the wages council saying that the federation has appealed to the Ministry of Labour to review the 1998 order governing wages and they have proposed a salary categorisation based on competence and qualification to ensure fair compensation for security officers.

However, in a rejoinder, Fazul said the authority will soon publish a legal notice containing a list of security companies that have failed or declined to submit their legal commitments to pay guards the set minimum wage of Sh30,000 as per legal notice number PSRA/005/2023.

As at March 5, 2024, a significant number of private security companies had submitted their legal commitments to pay, according to the authority.

"For those companies who have not submitted their legal commitments, you must do so to avoid the consequences of non-compliance, including but not limited to, a statutory review of your registration and licensing status in accordance with section 32 of the Act," said Fazul.

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