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PrideInn, firm lock horns over land ownership

Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga

A private company is seeking the demolition of a five-star hotel in Mombasa after its directors claimed ownership of part of the land the hotel sits on in Shanzu.

Shaanas Boutique Ltd says it was given the first grant to the land in 1987 but fraudsters allegedly acting in cahoots with some government officials among them top police officers and Ministry of Land officials grabbed it and illegally acquired title deed.

One of the directors of the company, Paresh Malde, said the property has illegally been transferred to four entities and their efforts to have their land back have not borne fruit. In an elaborate scheme to grab the land, the fraudsters without our knowledge on July 26, 2001 surrendered back the new grant C.R 18467 to the government for nothing.

Since then, the property has illegally been transferred to four entities, the latest entity to illegally claim ownership of the land is PrideInn Hotel and Investment

Malde said they have been fighting to get back their land and have moved to almost every government office mandated to investigate, prosecute and address matters concerning land to no help.

“We have tried all means legally possible and written to every government agency.  We have written to the Inspector General of Police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations but we have not got our land back,” he said.

Some of the other entities, Malde said, they have written to are Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), National Land Commission (NLC), National Assembly, Ministry of Lands and Ministry of Roads through Kenya Urban Roads Authority.

On November 3, 2015, the suspended NLC Chairman Mohammad Swazuri wrote to the Chief Land Registrar, Ministry of Lands asking for the cancellation of the title deed issued to PrideInn Hotel and Investment Ltd and issue Shaanas Boutique Ltd with the same as the original owner.

“NLC conducted probe and found that our complaint was genuine, however, the order to cancel the title and issue us with the original title has never been enforced,” said Malde.

Swazuri had also ordered for the repossession of a public access road that was amalgamated with the disputed land.

“To our surprise the Chief Land Registrar in the Ministry of Lands did not act and all the other government offices have closed their eyes on us; they have failed to execute their mandate,” claimed Shaanas director.

However in a rejoinder, PrideInn Group managing director Hasnain Noorani said all legal requirements were followed in acquisition of the land from Diamond Trust Bank.

Huge investment

“Where have these people been, why have they not gone to court if they feel their land was grabbed, we cannot undertake such huge investment on a grabbed land,” he said. Noorani said he was aware of the dispute regarding the ownership of the land since last year but asked those claiming original ownership to go to court.

“We have all documents to prove we own the land. We did all due diligence with our legal team before buying the land and therefore these people claiming ownership of the land should file case in court if they feel it belongs to them,” he said.

On the issue of grabbing beach access road, Noorani said he was not aware that the hotel had encroached on the public road leading to the sea. He claimed that Pride Inn Hotel and Investment Limited has used the land as security to secure Sh2 billion at the Diamond Trust Bank.

Shaanas has asked ODPP and EACC to intervene on the matter and bring to book all who were involved in the alleged land grabbing and illegal transfers of the property. 

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