Moi’s Sovereign Group closes InterContinental Hotel, fires all employees

InterContinental Hotel Nairobi.
InterContinental Hotel Nairobi. [Photo by African Safari Tours]

The Sovereign Group, an investment company associated with the late President Daniel Moi has announced the closure of five-star Intercontinental Hotel in the next 45 days.

The establishment sent a memo indicating its intent to cease operations in Kenya after 51 years citing “high operational costs”.

The memo stated that workers at the 389-bed hotel would be declared redundant in the next 45 days.

“We hereby give you 45 days notice of the hotels intention to declare your position redundant,” it read.

“Please note that we have set up communication channels to address any issues arising.”

Sovereign Group which is made up of Moi’s family and billionaire businessman Joshua Kulei acquired a majority stake of the hotel in 2018.

It acquired 5,874,391 shares (33.83%) in Kenya Hotel Properties Limited, the holding company that owns InterContinental Hotel Nairobi previously owned by InterContinental Hotels Corporation, a UK-based firm.

The stake made the Moi’s the majority shareholders with a 51.13 percent stake.

At the time, the government which also had a share in the hotel said that its stake remained untouched even as the UK firm offloaded its major shares to the Group.

Its closure comes a year after escaping the jaws of auctioneers over unpaid debts, a scenario which publicly tarnished its image in early 2019.

The Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) – which is the government had a 33.83 per cent stake in the holding company – and was also looking to offload its shares.

The Development Bank of Kenya had a 12.99 per cent stake in the Kenya Hotel Properties.

Kulei who served as Moi’s private secretary together with Rodger Kacou and Ahmed Jibril who are part of the Sovereign Group had a share of less than one per cent in the firm’s total stake.