Management calls for police action after Pinewood hotel attack


A section of the staff at Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa called for the arrest of hired goons who stormed the premises and attacked their colleagues. [Courtesy]

The management of English Point Marina has called on detectives to expedite investigations into the November 17 attack at Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa.

Through its director Nazir Jinnah, the management said the lack of police action against the perpetrators and mastermind of the attack is a blow to Kenya’s tourism sector.

In a press statement, Jinnah said it is unfortunate that the attack left dozens of staff working at Diani-based hotel in Kwale County with injuries and property of unknown value destroyed.

“It is deeply concerning that despite these events posing a significant national security threat, no criminal charges have been preferred to date,” he said.

He added, “We call upon the law enforcement agencies to expedite their investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice without delay”. 

Pinewood and English Point Marina are embroiled in a vicious court battle regarding disputed lending with Kenya Commercial Bank and its receiver Kamal Anantroy Bhatt of Sai Rock Hotels Limited.

Pinewood Resort and Spa was the guarantor to a loan extended to the investors for building the English Point Marina. The loan was granted by the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

Since then, Pinewood has been at the center of a legal dispute, as Kenya Commercial Bank seeks to take over its management, but has since been restrained by a High Court sitting in Mombasa until the case challenging its intended move is heard and determined.

In an order issued by Justice Peter Mulwa, the court set January 9, 2024, as the mention date for the case.

But Jinnah said they fear that despite attaining a clear court injunction to prevent any party from taking over, lack of police action will only embolden the attackers to continue to unlawfully and forcefully gain possession of the facility.

KCB is among several banks that are grappling with loan defaults as a result of the current harsh economic times.

Since the campaign period in 2022, the amount of bad loans has gone up nearly 20 percent or Sh90 billion to Sh586.2 billion, sending shockwaves in the banking industry when it almost touched Sh600 billion in May 2023.

As a result, several banks quickly reacted in different ways with some opting to seize businesses and recover their funds, resulting in court fights as businesses fought back ferociously.

KCB Bank has been one of the most aggressive in safeguarding shareholders' value by going after recoveries.

The lender has seized English Point Marina, Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa and, together with Absa Kenya, sought to take over Savannah Cement.

According to Jinnah, the November 17 attack was the third in the year.

“The safety and well-being of our guarantors and their community are of utmost importance, and we expect a swift and thorough response from the authorities,” Jinnah said.

“We urge anyone with relevant information to come forward and assist in the investigation. We stand united against undue financial duress, violence and the endangerment of public safety, demanding accountability for those responsible for these reprehensible acts,” he said.

A group of armed youth who attacked the hotel were captured in CCTV footage that went viral on social media platforms.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua has since condemned the attack and promised stern action against the masterminds.

Jinnah has warned that action is likely to negatively impact the tourism industry as Kenya’s position as a favorite holiday destination could be dented.

He cautioned it could lead to travel advisories at a time when the industry is recovering from the adverse effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.