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Sentrim sale: Tycoon Jagdesh Patel still cagey

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By BRIAN WASUNA
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In recent times, few events have sent shock waves through the hospitality industry that can match an announcement by business mogul Jagdesh Patel last month that he is selling his hotel portfolio, which boasts of eight luxurious establishments across the country.

The tycoon and his business associates remain tight-lipped about their reason for exiting a door that several super rich individuals are fighting to go through.

Sentrim has hired UK-owned property manager Knight Frank to oversee the landmark sale that is likely to attract numerous offers.

In the enviable hospitality portfolio are 680 Hotel, Hotel Boulevard, Castle Royal Hotel in Mombasa, Sentrim Elementaita, Sentrim Amboseli, Sentrim Mara, and Sentrim Samburu.

Although Sentrim and Knight Frank have played their cards very close to their chests regarding the portfolio’s ownership and sale, the Nation has uncovered fresh details, previously a preserve of very few of Mr Patel’s family and friends.

The 680 Hotel, which got its name from the number of beds it had when its doors opened, is the biggest moneymaker for the group, raking in Sh213 million annually.

Its average gross profit for the hotel unit alone has been Sh59.6 million for the last five years.

Knight Frank holds that profit from 680 Hotel can either be maximised either by renovating the building into an office block, or letting the three-star hotel continue its good run.

Sentrim Elementaita has been raking in Sh151 million annually in the last three years, with an average gross profit of Sh68.6 million.

Other annual incomes mentioned in the documents are: Castle Royal Hotel (Sh97.4 million, with a gross profit of Sh68.6), Sentrim Mara (Sh84.4 million, with a gross profit of Sh57.3), and Sentrim Tsavo (Sh40.2 million, with a gross profit of Sh25.6 million).

Inside the Sentrim group is a complicated ownership web that has buried the individual owners’ identities is several layers of local and offshore trusts and companies.

Documents sent to potential buyers only reveal three individuals as minority shareholders, with companies as majority shareholders.

Mr Patel, Mr Rajnikant M. Shah and Mr Harji V. Hirani each own a share in local companies that own hotels in the Sentrim group.

The Nairobi-registered firms, Mayhouse Ltd (680), Chezer Investments (Boulevard), Newgate Management Ltd (Castle Royal) and Operation Castle (Sentrim Elementaita) own the buildings and land on which they sit.

Mr Patel, Mr Shah and Mr Hirani own one share in Mayhouse, Chezer, Newgate and Operation Castle while their offshore companies own the other 128,000 shares.

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The four local companies are, in turn, majority-owned by four companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and Mauritius.

The British Virgin Islands firm, Mintea Corporation Ltd, owns 997 shares in Mayhouse and, by extension, the 680 Hotel.

Gartinero Company Ltd owns 124,997 shares in Chezer Investments and by extension, the Boulevard Hotel.

The Panama papers indicate that Mr Patel, Mr Shah and Mr Hirani have shares in Mintea and Gartinero, alongside three trusts with almost similar names.

Matco Ltd, as trustees of the 1306 Trust, Matco Ltd as trustees of the 2904 Trust, and Matco Ltd as trustees of the 3006 Trust are shareholders in both Gartinero and Mintea.

Mintea is also co-owned by a shadowy trust — the Lombard Trust — whose country of registration is not indicated in the Panama papers.

Mauritius-registered Simply Green Company Ltd has 997 shares in Newgate Management, which owns Castle Royal in Mombasa.

Kenya Wind Company Ltd, another firm registered in Mauritius, has 997 shares in Operation Castle, which owns Sentrim Elementaita.

German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung in 2016 named Mintea and Gartinero among 214,000 firms registered offshore by wealthy individuals looking to hide their wealth, avoid heavy tax liabilities in their home countries, and in some instances, even launder the proceeds from crime.

However, the Nation has not found any evidence that Sentrim’s offshore dealings are in any way illegal.

The Sh5.2 billion Knight Frank announced as a guiding price seemed rather conservative, but the consultancy’s head of agency, Mr Anthony Havelock, says it is intended to attract serious buyers, who will battle it out at the auction.

He said the sale offer has attracted interest from both local and foreign investors, but gave no details. Also, he gave no time frame for when the sale will be completed.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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