- Over Rfw5bn hotel investments in jeopardy
Gasabo District authorities have demolished part of a hotel building in Nyarutarama worth Rwf50 million belonging to the S.A Hotel Group.
The company owned by British nationals had earmarked to invest at least Rwf 5bn in the luxury hotel project.
District officials led by the District Mayor, Claudine Nyinawagaga who was accompanied by police, supervised as a bulldozer razed two sections of the hotel which were meant to house a spa with a sauna and massage parlour.
“At first, this plot was meant for residential houses but when this British national bought it, he changed it to a hotel but we tried to compromise and accepted the plan,” Nyinawagaga who was at the scene told The New Times yesterday.
“This British national later added another part on the building without our authorization, swimming pool and sauna which affects sewage systems which can cause an impact on the environment; we were concerned with the security of the residents.”
“We cannot tolerate people who build in disorder (kajagari), nobody is above the law, whether you are an investor or not,” Nyinawagaga insisted as she watched the caterpillar tractor breaking the house down.
“Many people think kajagari is only slums but even renovation without authorization, no considerations of environment, is kajagari”
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) chairman Joe Ritchie and his deputy whom heads the tourism department, Chantal Rugamba, watched helplessly as the Mayor’s team began the demolition work.
One eye witness Apollinaire Ndayambaje said they halted building progress earlier last week but only started the demolition yesterday.
“I don’t know what went wrong really, I saw the Mayor coming with some Chinese and in a few minutes I saw caterpillars coming and ordered to put this house down,” the eye witness at the scene narrated.
The Project Manager Imran Alam said the whole project would have cost between Rwf4.5bn and Rwf5.1bn in investments.
The son of the investor, Saeed Alam, added that his father’s company wanted to bring in software worth Rwf45.3m to the hotel to facilitate in offering the best services.
A source at the scene told The New Times that the Mayor had a grudge against the wife of the investor, Asmeun Murekatete.
The source added that an emergency meeting was held yesterday between the Prime Minister, the Mayor and the RDB officials to devise a better solution for the hotel but the Mayor decided to continue with the demolition.
When asked to confirm the allegations, the wife of the investor, could not speak to the press as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“No comment, maybe tomorrow,” she said.
According to the son, Embassy records show that his father’s company was the biggest British investor in Rwanda to date.