Seven employees of the debt-ridden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IF&LS) have been held hostage by unpaid staff at three sites in Ethiopia's Oromia and Amhara states, according to reports. In an emailed letter, the employees said that the police and officials were taking the side of locals against them. So far, there was no response from Oromia and Amhara police but the Indian foreign ministry has initiated an investigation into the claims by the expatriates in Ethiopia.
In their letter to the ministry, the employees said that the possible termination of some projects by the Indian and Spanish joint venture triggered the local staffers to resort to the action. They said that they were caught in the "middle of corporate disagreements, blame games and bureaucratic issues."
“Concerns of project termination and absence of senior management from project camps might have triggered panic in local employees and led them to believe confining expat employees might force the organization to pay their salaries,” the letter emailed by the employee read.
In an SOS tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, one Neeraj Raghuwanshi who claimed to be one of the IL&FS employees in Ethiopia asked for immediate "help before its too late".
#SOS @rashtrapatibhvn @GRamnathkovind @narendramodi Sir we seven people are hostage by locals in Ethiopia, due to non payments of #ILFS What is employee's fault sir.even we didn't get salary from last 5 months all worked in Ethiopia for #ILFS help please b4 it's 2late #sos #Help— neeraj raghuwanshi (@chota86) November 29, 2018
The infrastructure financing firm IL&FS which began defaulting debt payments in August have reportedly not paid taxes and local employee pensions for nine months. The company told the employees that due to the Reserve Bank restrictions it is not able to send funds, the letter read.