Strabag fires driver, boss deported


The Immigration Department has deported a 46 year old Austrian, Hinteregger Jurgen for his racist remarks towards a Malawian worker.

Jurgen a workshop manager at Strabag International, a German company constructing the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road, allegedly called a driver, Charles Devina, a monkey after he got tyres of a vehicle belonging to the company scratched.

Lawyer for the company, Wesley Mwafulirwa, confirmed the deportation in an interview Monday, despite the Immigration Department refusing to confirm the development.


He said the Austrian Ambassador to Tanzania confirmed with him [Mwafulirwa] in a telephone interview that Jurgen is now in the East African country.

“We are concerned with the manner in which he has been treated, after a circular was circulated about his deportation, everything was being done without his knowledge. Need I mention that he was denied bail since Saturday despite our application?” Mwafulirwa said.

Immigration Spokesperson, Joseph Chauwa, maintained that they are yet to receive deportation orders.


But Mwafulirwa insisted: “The immigration officers drove him to the border without even telling him where he was headed to, only to be told by well-wishers after disembarking from the vehicle that he is no longer in Malawi. We could [have been] more civilised.”

Commenting on his client’s conduct, Mwafulirwa said Jurgen did not in any way intend to demean or cause injury to the victim by using an expression that is commonly used in his home country of Austria.

“He indeed said ‘you are driving like a monkey’. But in his country, Austria, that’s a common expression meaning you are a bad driver. In their country it’s not racist at all,” he said while adding that Strabag has done nothing wrong and that it respects all of its clients.

Jurgen, Mwafulirwa said, had issued a statement of apology to authorities which was yet to be served in writing to the Roads Authority, the victim and Strabag’s local members of staff among other parties.

Meanwhile, Strabag International has fired Deniva apparently for disclosing how he was allegedly victimised by Jurgen.

Speaking in an interview with The Daily Times Monday, Deniva said soon after the incident happened on Friday, the company officials told him not to be seen at the work place again.

Deniva has also faulted government for deporting Jurgen without any clear cases charged against him.

He suspects foul play between the company officials and government over the deportation decision.

“I went to Police today [Monday] thinking we are going to court but I have been told that Jurgen has been deported to his country escorted by Department of Immigration officers via Tanzania. However, they have not told me anything concerning proceedings of the case.

“I do not know what will be next over the matter. The company has fired me. Jurgen has not even apologised to me. Why is this happening within my country?” Deniva queried.

However, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia, said government decided to deport Jurgen adding the victim will be helped later.

However, Mwafulirwa said he had not yet received reports that the company had fired the driver.

But Deniva claims that the company approached him to withdraw the matter and that in so doing he will be offered K5 million.

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