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Kenyan food supplier Kakuzi shakes up board after Tesco suspension

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan food producer Kakuzi KUKZ.NR has appointed a new chairman and admitted a new director to its board, weeks after it was suspended by British retailer Tesco TSCO.L.

Kakuzi has chosen Nicholas Ng'ang'a, who retired from a long stint chairing the board of telecoms operator Safaricom SCOM.NR in July, to lead its board, it said in statement.

He replaces Graham Mclean, who will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

The board is also setting up an independent human rights advisory committee, comprised of local and international experts and representatives of interest groups.

Andrew Ndegwa, a non-executive director of Kakuzi, will sit on the panel. John Kibunga Kimani, a Kenyan agricultural sector expert, will also join the board.

Kimani, who grew up on the company’s vast estates in central Kenya, holds about a third of the shares of the company and his previous campaign to secure a seat on the board had been rebuffed.

Tesco said on Oct. 11 it had suspended all supplies from the avocado, macadamia nuts, tea, pineapples and livestock producer, after reports of alleged human rights abuses by security guards employed by Kakuzi.

English law firm Leigh Day said in October that 79 Kenyans had launched a legal claim in the High Court in London against Camellia Plc CAME.L for alleged human rights abuses by security guards employed by Kakuzi, its Kenyan subsidiary.

Kakuzi has said it does not condone any criminal actions and has asked Kenyan prosecutors to investigate.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; editing by Barbara Lewis

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