Was Google Kenya chief pushed out over Mocality debacle?

In the wake of allegations against Google brought on by online business directory Mocality, the country manager of Google Kenya, Olga Arara-Kimani, has left the company.

The former country manager of Google Kenya, Olga Arara-Kimani (image: Daily Nation)

Mocality posted evidence on their blog showing that Google was in violation of their terms of use by scraping their business directory while call centre agents were claiming Google had a relationship with Mocality.

Blog Nairobitech claims that Arara-Kimani was fired from the search engine, as well as “a technical guy” in Zurich. However, Arara-Kimani insists that she left the company on her own and wasn’t asked to leave. “I confirm I have left Google Kenya. As the leader of the Kenya office, I felt that the buck stopped with me and I decided to leave,” she told Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper.

Google Kenya confirmed the departure, but declined to give any other details. “It is true that Olga is no longer with the company. And as we adhere to the privacy policy, we will not comment on the personal business of our ex-employees,” Dorothy Ooko, communications & public affairs for East & Francophone at Google said.

When the allegations came to light, Nelson Mattos, Google vice-president for product and engineering in Europe and Emerging Markets released a statement in which he expressed his displeasure with the situation.

“We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites. We’ve already unreservedly apologised to Mocality. We’re still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we’ll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved,” he said.

Google Kenya will be helmed by Google’s head for Sub Saharan Africa, Joe Mucheru, until a suitable candidate is found.

Charlie Fripp – Online editor