Kenya: Italian, Kenyan in Sh1 Billion Hotel Takeover Freed on Bail

Italian investor and his Kenyan business partner at the centre of a controversial takeover of a luxurious hotel in Kilifi have been freed on bail after spending five days behind bars.

Mr Stefano Uccelli and Mr Isaac Rodrot alias Mwaura were on Tuesday granted bail despite opposition from the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji who wanted the two detained for another two weeks.

Mombasa Principal Magistrate Elvis Michieka released the two on Sh200,000 cash bail each and directed them to deposit their passports in court.

The suspects have been in detention at Port Police Station since Thursday when they were arrested in Malindi by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and taken to Mombasa. The court gave them an option of Sh500,000 bond each.

While granting the suspects bail, the magistrate said there was no need to continue holding them in custody yet they have been with the police for a considerable number of days.

The magistrate warned the suspects against interfering with witnesses.

The suspects are also allowed not into the Sh1 billion hotel because the DPP marked it as a crime scene.

Mr Uccelli and Mr Rodrot have denied conspiring to defraud Hans Jurgen Langer, a German investor, Salama Beach Hotel and stealing 840,000 euros from Accredo AG.

The prosecutors say jointly with others still at large, they conspired to defraud Mr Langer, by means of obtaining false registration of Salama Beach Hotel by falsely pretending that they were genuine directors of the hotel.

They are further accused of falsely obtaining the registration of directors of the company by false pretence, which effectively made them owners of the luxurious hotel located in Kilifi County.

According to court records, Mr Uccelli and Mr Rodrot, prior to their taking over the hotel, had been employed as a director and an assistant accountant at the hotel, respectively.

The documents were purportedly signed and issued by Senior Counsel Faith Chirchir for the registrar of companies Nairobi.

In another charge, the suspects are accused of stealing by servant contrary to Section 281 of the Penal code.

The state alleges the suspects, on diverse dates between March 16, and July 14, 2010, being servants of the hotel as area director and resident manager respectively, stole 840,000 euros, the property of Accredo AG, which came into their possession by virtue of their employment.

The suspects allegedly committed this offence at Barclay's Bank, Kilifi Branch.

The ownership dispute over Temple Point Resort (formerly Salama Beach Hotel) pitting Mr Langer, his wife Zahra Langer on one hand and Mr Rodrot and Mr Uccelli on the other, has dragged in court for the past 11 years.

Temple Point Resort, which is said to have leased the hotel, has been running it and was in the process of having it declared insolvent at the time the eviction of the German investor took place in February.

The case will be mentioned on June 18.

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