11 July 2017

Tanzania: Grumeti Agrees to Repay Over Sh1 Billion It Owes Wildlife Area

Grumeti Game Reserves (T) Ltd has agreed to repay Sh1.3 million it owes Ikona Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Serengeti District, Mara Region.

On July 1 this year, officers and leaders of Ikona WMA had to close all roads leading to Farufaru Hotel and other areas used by Grumeti to pressurise the company so that it pays about Sh1.5 billion demanded for over three years unsuccessfully.

Grumeti public relations manager Ami Seki, speaking to reporters on the issue on July 6 this year, admitted they owed Ikoma WMA Sh1.3 billion and promised to repay it after signing an agreement, which was previously disputed by Ikona WMA.

Speaking to The Citizen during a telephone interview after a meeting with leaders of Grumeti, Ikona WMA and the district council, Serengeti District Commissioner Nurdin Babu said they had reached an agreement on debt settlement.

"What has been disputed by Ikona WMA requiring it to sign a new agreement we have left out and instead Ikona WMA has prepared a new agreement as the owner of the area and both parties are satisfied with it. So, Sh1.3 billion will be paid at any time from now," said Mr Babu.

However, the district commissioner noted that his office in cooperation with experts from the district council would make a follow-up on Grumeti's complaints about involving investors in the area without carrying out an environmental evaluation. Grumeti Game Reserves (T) Ltd public relations manager Ami Seki admitted having reached the agreement and that lawyers of both parties would go through what had been decided about the agreement, which Ikona WMA Council of Authorised Association (AA) would accent to before signing it and pay the money.

Grumeti Game Reserves (T) Ltd is among the investors hiring Ikona WMA and are supposed to pay rent charges every year, including charges on photos and hunting.

The 50 per cent payment paid by the investors, who hired the area is spent on conservation purposes, while 50 per cent is divided among member villages of Natta Mbiso, Robanda, Nyichoka, Makundusi and Nyigoti for development projects.

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