Hotel sale wrong, says Ngilu

June 28, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI June, 28- Revelations of the sale of Grand Regency Hotel continue to draw sharp reactions from members of the coalition government, in what is now emerging as a fresh row in the potentially precarious union.

Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu Saturday criticized the sale terming it ‘a dare corruption act and theft of public property’.

Ngilu said it was imperative that facts surrounding the sale of the hotel are made known.

“This is grand theft of public resources by public servants who have been entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding public property,” Ngilu said.

She recommended that those who would be implicated in the secretive sale of the prestigious hotel ought to resign from public office.

“Whoever will be found to have done this should resign and pay back the money,” Ngilu stated.

Her remarks come against the backdrop of government’s admission on Friday that it had sold the hotel, which has been dogged by unending controversies

Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, in a statement to the press, said the hotel was sold earlier in the week to a Libyan investor at Sh2.5 billion.

"We had an offer made that we thought was too good to refuse. The highest valuation we had for the hotel was Sh2.1 billion but they offered Sh2.925 billion," Kimunya revealed.

Kimunya said the next closest offer was Sh1.8 billion which Treasury considered too low.

The revelation came barely a day after Lands Minister James Orengo exposed the controversial sale of the hotel.

Orengo had said the hotel was sold for a paltry Sh2 billion far below its market price, which he claimed was pegged at Sh7.5 billion.

However, Ngilu allayed fears that the row would divide the grand coalition cabinet, considering that the transaction was done in secrecy.

 Water Board inaugurated

Minister Ngilu spoke Saturday when she inaugurated a new board to attend to the water shortage problem in arid and semi arid areas.

She said the board, dubbed TANATHI, would look into the implementation of irrigation and domestic water projects.

“This board shall start working right away to ensure Kenyans get desired services,” she said

The board would be responsible for the provision of water in 14 districts in Ukambani some of which will include: Machakos, Kitui, Mwingi, and Kangundo.

Earlier Friday, a Water Stakeholders consultative workshop was held in Nairobi to discuss on how to improve water services across the country.

 Death at Grand Regency Hotel

And in a bizarre incident, a businessman was Saturday found dead at the troubled Grand Regency Hotel.

The man allegedly died within the hotel last night but the management declined to speak to the press.

According to reliable sources, the man is of Asian origin and a proprietor of a leading hotel.

Police officers who arrived at the scene also did not speak with the press.


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