23 June 2019

Tanzania: Troubled Arusha-Based Hotel Under Siege Again

Arusha — The troubled Snow Crest Hotel, once a leading outfit in the safari capital, is under siege again.

This time it has been ripped off all the furniture, equipment and other movable items reportedly in a bid by auctioneers to recover debts.

The former clients of the hotel, employees and residents of Kwa Ngulelo suburb on Friday woke up to find the hotel gates closed again.

But this time around all the movable items like tables, chairs, beds, kitchen, bar and other equipment and cutlery lay outside.

"The hotel has been ripped of all its belongings ready for sale," a resident of Arusha told The Citizen on phone late yesterday.

He said Snow Crest, located four kilometres from the city centre, owes banks millions of dollars in loans used to construct it 10 years ago.

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"It is being readied for sale but I don't know when," he said, pleading ignorance of the money it owed to the banks and suppliers.

However, he confirmed that the closed hotel was heavily indebted to the suppliers of foodstuffs and beverages which could run into millions of shillings

A local businessman contacted said he was aware of the recent troubles of the outfit over unsettled loans but not on Friday's closure.

Efforts to get its current proprietor, who was identified as one William Mollel, were futile. His mobile phone went unanswered.

Reporters who tried to access the area, along the highway to Moshi were rudely turned away by private security guards.

Snow Crest Hotel, built by local investors, came under siege immediately after it was officially opened by former President Jakaya Kikwete on December 18, 2009.

Only three days after the Head of State inaugurated it, the National Roads Agency (Tanroads) demolished a concrete barrier on the hotel front, claiming it was built on the road reserve.

Its first owner was one Wilfred L. Tarimo who said the hotel was constructed at the cost of $ 3.5 million.

A large amount used to put the two storey facility by the roadside was a loan from PTA Investment Bank and the reminder raised by himself and partners.

The facility later changed hands but transactions surrounding this had been obscure as has been the whereabouts of the former owner and the new buyers.

In September 2016, there were attempts to sell it in order to recover the bank loans and the monies it owed to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) due to the court orders.

Allan Mollel of First World Investment Court Brokers, who was to oversee the sale of the currently idle property, confirmed the stop order then.

NSSF officials, on their part, also pressed for the sale of the hotel buildings to be sold as a way to recover Sh400 million, the company which operated it owed the social security institution.

These included terminal benefits for workers it employed for the first five years when it was fully operational until 2014 when business fell sharply.

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