Hotel sold to Kenyans, claims Orengo

July 1, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, June 30 – Lands Minister James Orengo has now revealed that the Grand Regency hotel was actually sold for sh1.85 billion and not the sh2.9 billion figure given by his Finance counterpart Amos Kimunya on Friday.

Orengo told a press conference in his office Monday that the hotel was sold to a Kenyan-registered firm, Libyan Arab African Investment Company Kenya Limited, and not to the Libyan government.

The minister also said that a Kenyan law firm handled the sale on behalf of both the CBK and the hotel’s new owners, and questioned why the Attorney General was not involved in the deal.

Orengo now says he has instituted measures to block further transactions involving the plot on which the hotel stands.

The minister’s press conference came just hours after Attorney General Amos Wako stated that he was not consulted during the sale of the Grand Regency hotel.

Wako who was also not involved in the recent handover of the Goldenberg-linked hotel by Kamlesh Pattni to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) said he had learnt of the sale through the media.

The AG said he was now going through the transaction agreements to verify if the law was followed.

"Now that they have signed and everything has been done I have a duty to examine what has been done to find out if it is lawful or not," Wako said.

Speaking when he met members from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the Attorney General said he should be able to give the way forward after a meeting of the cabinet sub-committee on Finance and Administration, called by Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday.

At the same time Wako reiterated that Businessman Kamlesh Pattni had not been granted amnesty for handing over the Grand Regency.

He said,"We normally grant amnesty to somebody who has been found guilty so the cases before the court (against Pattni) continue to be prosecuted."

The AG said that only his office could offer amnesty and not through any other person.

He said he was not bound to any agreements entered between Pattni and Anti-Corruption officials.

Pattni and his lawyers agreed with KACC officials in April that all suits against him would be discontinued and terminated after he handed back the hotel, that was at the centre of the multi-billion shillings Goldenberg scandal.

LSK Chairman Okong’o Omogeni appealed to the AG to give the public details of the sale.

"We have put a memorandum before the AG to seek information from the relevant ministry to confirm whether the sale was done within the law," said Omogeni.


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