Kamlesh Pattni Company in Sh550m hotel transfer saga

By Geoffrey Mosoku

Kenya: A company associated with controversial business tycoon Kamlesh Pattni disregarded High Court orders and transferred lease of land of a five -star tourist hotel in Narok.

Wildlife Lodges Ltd, associated with Pattni, sold the lease of the prestigious Keekorok Hotel and Lodge to Hyatt International Hotels at Sh550 million on December 28, 2012.

Wildlife lodges is battling for the property with Wilderness Lodges Ltd. There are over three court cases pending in High Court and orders restricting Narok Council or Wildlife lodges from transferring the lease. One of the cases was brought up by Pattni to bar Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) from investigating the irregular takeover of the hotel until two pending cases are determined.

Also caught in the middle of the fiasco is Commercial Bank of Africa, which risks losing Sh155 million, which directors of Wilderness lodges had obtained after charging the property. However, Wildlife lodges, according to documents in our possession, indemnified the Government to be allowed to dispose off the property to Hyatt. 

“Please bear in mind that publishing any article about Keekorok will be cited for violating the sub judice rule as there are three pending matters in court about the property,” Pattni said.

He, however, could not explain if the transfer of the lease to Hyatt was not in contempt of court. “No… no, it is not in contempt, there is no restriction from court,” he added.  

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Monday, Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu said she will not comment on the matter until her officers furnish her with details. “I will ask my officers to furnish me with the details of the transaction before commenting,” she said.

Former Commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea, who was party to the pending suits in court, said he handled thousands of titles and would not comment on any one in particular.

“How will I know about a single title my friend? I have over 30,000 titles at my desk and I can’t discuss a single title,” Mabea, currently Lands Secretary, said and directed us to his assistant Cyrus Ngatia, who is also the Chief Lands Title Registrar.

“I don’t know what you are talking about and I am not aware if that lease has been transferred. You need to check at the registry of Narok Lands office,” Ngatia said in spite of his office having registered the new lease given to Hyatt on February 3, 2012. 

The lease was then forwarded to Narok for registration.

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Kamlesh Pattni Narok Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Zablon Mabea