Kimunya to give Grand details

June 29, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, June 29 – Finance Minister Amos Kimunya will disclose details of the sale of Grand Regency Hotel in parliament this week.

Speaking at Miharati Secondary school in his Kipipiri constituency on Sunday, Kimunya defended the sale of the five star hotel saying it was legal and conducted at the right time.

The Finance minister maintained that the Sh2.9 billion offer extended by the Libyan government was the highest bid received for the hotel.

While disclosing the sale of the prestigious hotel on Friday, Kimunya had said the next closest offer was Sh1.8 billion which treasury considered too low.

At the time, he also revealed that the deal to sell the hotel was struck with the full knowledge of the Kenya Anti-corruption commission.

However, Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Mutula Kilonzo differed with Kimunya over the cost of the hotel.

Kilonzo said the amount given was too low and as the hotel could fetch close to Sh10 billion.

“This is prime property and is probably the most expensive hotel in the region. Obviously someone is lying because two billions shillings cannot even buy the furniture in that hotel. I dealt with it and I know what I am talking about,” Mutula stated.

Speaking to Capital News, Mutula also said the timing of the sale was not right given the current rate of inflation and country’s exchange rate.

He said, “The hotel is an income generating and valuable asset. Central Bank should have held on to it until the economy truly improves and then dispose of it at its prime figure.”

The minister called for immediate investigations to un-ravel the truth behind the sale.

He said if investigations revealed corrupt dealings in the sale of the hotel Kimunya should be fired or transferred to another ministry.

The Grand Regency has been in focus since March when it was reported that businessman Kamlesh Pattni had offered to return the facility to the Central Bank of Kenya in exchange for amnesty.

Meanwhile, COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli has called on Kenyans to exercise caution while commenting on the sale of the hotel.

Atwoli pointed out that every aspect of the sale should be looked into so that the truth of the transaction may be known.
He emphasized the need for Kenyans to have faith in the Cabinet to give direction on the issue.

“We have a cabinet which is supposed to give a direction on such like issues under the chairmanship of his Excellency the president so we have to wait. It is too early for us to make any comments,” pointed out the COTU secretary general.

He further urged the legislators to deliberate objectively on whether it was done in a transparent manner.  

“Everywhere they have been from 2002, most of them were elected on a platform of zero tolerance to corruption and other things that are done under the carpet. So we have to wait and see how the tenth parliament will handle the matter,” Atwoli stated.


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