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Kenyan Investor to take over of Sh1b resort in Malindi after protracted legal battle

Malindi resident magistrate issued the directive last week

A court has issued an order allowing a Kenyan investor to take over the ownership of the four-star Salama Beach Hotel in Watamu, Kilifi County.

Issac Rodrot lost the ownership of the hotel in 2010 after a Malindi High Court ruled that a judgement entered in Italy allowing a German couple to repossess the property was valid.

The tussle between the parties started in 2002 when Hans Jurgen and his wife Zahra Langer and their company Accredo AG sued Viaggi Del Ventagglio and was awarded Euro 825,000 (Sh102.5 million) by the court in Milan, Italy.

Later, Viaggi was declared bankrupt and the only asset that was in his possession were shares in Salama Beach Hotel.

In 2010, the High Court in Malindi allowed the splitting of the shares between Rodrot and the German couple on a 50:50 basis.

Rodrot moved to court in November 2014 to challenge the orders on the grounds that the consent was signed by his partner, Steffano Uccelli, on his behalf through “misrepresentation of facts, fraud and coercion”.

Bank signatories

On April 30, 2015, the High Court in Malindi ordered that the ownership of the hotel should revert to Rodrot within seven days and the German couple was also to be struck out as bank signatories.  

But Jurgen and his wife appealed, arguing that the High Court in Malindi erred by quashing the order that had given them the 50:50 ownership.

In December, last year, a three-judge bench at the Court of Appeal – Justices Alnashir Visram, Wanjiri Karanja and Martha Koome – upheld a High Court decision to revert the hotel’s ownership to Rodrot.

Rodrot told The Standard that he had obtained an execution order and had already informed the police at Watamu Police Station that he would take over the hotelon Wednesday.

Last week, Malindi Resident Magistrate and Deputy Registrar JN Wandia issued the execution order, paving way for a takeover.

“We expect to be on site this Wednesday. We have an execution order and the police have been informed. We intend to spruce up the hotel and carry out the massive upgrade during this low season as we hope to return the hotel to its former glory,” said Rodrot.

He said he had already contracted international tour operators and local ones to market the hotel.

“This suit is coming for enforcement of a judgment emanating from an application dated July 21, 2015. The execution to proceed as per judgment,” states an order by Malindi Deputy Register and Magistrate Dr JN Wandia of Malindi issued on January 3, this year.

In a letter seen by The Standard, Rodrot’s lawyer Munyithya and Muzna Company has written to the Germans and the police to inform them that his client will take over the hotel.

“Our clients, accompanied by the security agents, will be taking possession of all the properties belonging to the 1st defendant (Salama Beach Limited) on January 10, 2018,” states the letter.

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