NAIROBI, July 4 – The High court Friday put a temporary stop to any activities on the controversial Grand Regency Hotel, which was recently sold to a Libyan company.
High Court Judge Justice Alnashir Visram issued an injunction restraining Libyan Arab African Investment Company Ltd (LAAICL) and its agents from transferring or interfering with the ownership of the Hotel.
Justice Visram issued the order following an urgent case instituted by a former receiver manager of the hotel, Hezekiah Gichohi, who claims he has not been paid his remuneration amounting to Sh34 million.
While issuing the orders, Justice Visram said: "I am satisfied that the case is a proper one where a temporary injunction can be issued."
The injunction is set to remain in force for 14 days at the peak of which the case would be heard by inter parties on July 16.
Gichohi, through his lawyer Kibe Mungai, was also allowed to file a supplementary affidavit within ten days.
His lawyer told the court that Gichohi had only learnt last week about the sale of the hotel to the Libyan company.
The court heard that Gichohi was appointed as a receiver manager in 2003 and his remuneration was to be paid from the proceeds and properties of the five star hotel, which he had a duty to preserve.
The transfer of the hotel, the lawyer argued, affects Gichohi’s right in respect to unpaid dues.
He claimed the money was accrued from monthly payments of Sh400,000 which he and a joint receiver manager Peter Ndaa were entitled to.
Mungai wanted the hotel to furnish security by depositing in court Sh34.1 million within seven days from the date the order is made.
In his suit, the manager also accused the Central Bank of Kenya and Uhuru Highway Development Co Ltd which owned the hotel of conspiring to sell and transfer the hotel fraudulently.
He added that after the take over of the hotel, he wrote to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) demanding his dues on April 21.
Gichohi claims that the CBK Governor Prof Njuguna Ndung’u replied to his fees requisition note and only claimed that the remuneration of each joint receiver manager was fixed at Sh400,000 per month without denying that he was owed money.
The court order came as even the Lands Minister James Orengo denied knowledge of the sale.
He said he was alerted of it by his Ministry’s officials and called on Finance Minister Amos Kimunya to resign over the controversial sale.
“On the 26th of June, I expressed the fact that I was ashamed and embarrassed that a transaction of this magnitude could have taken place entirely without my knowledge. And to that effect I wrote a memo to the Commissioner of Lands and pointed out the fact that they should have acted with prudence and ensured that I was informed of the transaction.”
Meanwhile, the Nyandarua Professional and Business forum has come to Kimunya’s defence, calling for the country to give him a fair hearing.
The Group led by advocate Samuel Gichigi said facts surrounding the sale of Grand Regency should be presented first before leaders are asked to resign.
The group said it plans to hold a public demonstration in support of the Minister on Sunday.
The statement was issued even as Kimunya’s supporters led by political activist Stanley Livondo held demonstrations within the city centre on Friday afternoon to show their solidarity.
They were however dispersed by the police when they tried to get to Parliament buildings.