Pearl of Africa Hotel is on the brink of losing its property to commercial banks and money lenders for failure to clear accumulated loans. The revelation was made by an employee of the state-of-the-art hotel who said the proprietor is choking on loans.
The multi-million dollar hotel belongs to AYA Brother’s Muhammad Hamid who was in 2018 embroiled in claims of sexual assault. He in 2017 led to the arrest of former minister Herbert Kabafunzaki on allegations that he was soliciting bribes.
According to a source, the business was mostly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Hotel has since laid off several workers and others have since left over the hotel’s failure to meet their salaries.
“The gatekeepers left. Can you imagine gatekeepers who earn peanuts? The facility has accumulated water and electricity bills. Recently the president stepped in when UMEME disconnected them. At the Time UMEME owed them over Shs700 million,” the source said.
“The hotel has run out of business and I don’t think it will recover during the new normal. Service cars for the hotel have since been attached and they are in Kawempe but I can’t tell you exact place.”
Mr. Najib Muwonge, the guest relations officer at Pearl of Africa Hotel refuted all claims saying that former workers were all paid.
“Hotel vans were no attached, they are packed at AYA factory manufacturing biscuits in Kawempe. Those are mere allegations. We are operating normally; you can visit us to confirm. As you are aware some workers were asked to stay home due to the Covid-19,” he said.
The source said the prestigious 20-storey hotel is in crisis and that it needs a serious investor to see it rising from the deep slumber. It is averred that the proprietors of the hotel were in search for potential investors however one has responded.
In 2018, the then hotel’s human resource manager, Mr Lawrence Kulanga said the hotel in preparation to lay off workers as a new investor, US hotel chain Wyndham was about to takeover in October 2018.
“We have identified an operator of international repute and the hotel is in the process of transitioning to the management of the operator. The transition is expected to last approximately two months.” Part of Kulanga’s letter to employees read.
Pearl of Africa Hotel is one of the highest points in Kampala city and has been under development since 2006, was completed in June 2017, and was opened on October 1, 2017. It began operations as Aya Hotel and briefly adopted the Hilton Hotel brand before rebranding to Pearl of Africa Hotel.