…Alleged They Acted On Instruction Of Commissioner Of Culture and Tourism
Armed Soldiers, Policemen, Civil Defence Corps/Legionnaires on Monday October 30, 2017 forcefully took over the Hotel Presidential, Enugu and manhandled the hotel’s security personnel.
According to the Executive Director of Primeview Hotel, Chuma Anosike, the invaders claimed that they were instructed to “take over the Hotel” by the Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Rita Mbah, who later came to the site in company of some other persons we learnt were “Prospective Investors”.
He stated that the security men at the hotel had wanted to resist the invasion of the hotel since the invaders could not presented any letter authorising them to take over the hotel or a valid Court Order but had to back down when their lives were threatened.
Primeview Hotels Limited is the concessionaire of the Hotel Presidential.
Anosike informed Abelnewsng.com that by virtue of the Joint Venture Agreement date September 17, 2013 between Hotel Presidential Limited, E Hospitality Services Limited and Primeview Hotels Limited (PHL) and that the Deed of Assignment dated February 6, 2014 between Hotel Presidential Ltd and Primeview Hotels Ltd respectively legal title in the property is vested in Primeview Hotels Ltd (PHL) for 35 years commencing from of October 1, 2013.
The Executive Director further informed that the hotel has been in uninterrupted possession of the property since August 2013 and that it has also carried out extensive work both onsite and offsite with a view to redeveloping and transforming the hotel to a world class hospitality facility.
“Unfortunately, we have experienced a number of setbacks; the latest of which is a pending law suit by an entity which claimed to have had a previous interest in the property. To the extent that PHL were joined as co-defendants in the suit together with the officials of the Enugu State Government, we advised the Government to resolve the matter as the facts relating to the dispute arose prior to our engagement,”Anosike said.
He continued, “Since 2015, we have met with the Government team including His Excellency, the Governor, his Deputy, members of the State Privatisation Council and the Commissioner of Culture and Tourism and we have kept them apprised of our challenges and suggested ways in which we can move forward.”
The Executive Director of PHL stated that at the last meetings held in June this year, it was agreed that efforts would be made to reach out to Status Symbol Ltd, the litigant in the aforesaid suit with a view to arriving at an amicable resolution to ensure PHL move forward without further hindrance.
He disclosed that as at September 30 2017, over a $1,200,000 (One Million Two Hundred US Dollars) have been invested in the project, adding that it would take all necessary steps to protect the investment.
Anosike stated that when Mrs. Mbah was contacted to confirm if indeed she gave instruction to armed soldiers and policemen to invade the hotel, she said she was carrying out a “Government Directive”.
Anosike added that he advised her about the obvious illegality of her action but she proceeded regardless.
Meanwhile, PHL stated that it would continued to work with its consultants to fine tune plans for the restoration of the Hotel including making funding arrangements, which according to it have altered significantly given the foreign exchange situation and level of inflation in the country.
Speaking further, the hotel said, “We therefore received with great shock and disappointment the information that Mrs Mbah had decided against good reason, common sense and more importantly in flagrant disregard of the provisions of a legally binding agreement taken matters into her own hands and orchestrated an attempted violent takeover of the Hotel from PHL.”
PHL told the online platform that from the information available to the hospitality giant, it appears that the of Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Rita Mbah apart from being patently illegal, it has undertones of a personal enrichment agenda.
PHL, alleged that it was reliably informed that Mbah has struck a deal with “would – be Investors” to carry on business activity on the hotel site from which she would benefit personally.
According to PHL, “This sort of impunity and total disregard for the Rule of law which was common in times past is completely unacceptable and will only serve to deter genuine investors.
The hotel appealed to the Enugu State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, who according to PHL has quite impressive record not to allow the action of a few it described as ‘misguided elements’ in his administration tarnish his hard- earned reputation.
PHL stated that its lawyers were considering options and that they have instructions to take all steps necessary to protect its legal interest.
Attempts by Abelnewsng.com to reach the Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Enugu State, Mrs. Rita Mbah for her reaction did not yield and fruitful result.