Dar es Salaam. Libya has reportedly repossessed Bahari Beach Hotel along the Dar es Salaam coast, ending a long running dispute over the rightful owners.
The dispute that lasted for four years finally ended after the Libyan African Investment Company (Laico) confirmed it is the current rightful owner.
Laico is controlled by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) headquartered in Tripoli. Libya has faced turmoil since the killing of its former long serving leader Muamar Gadaffi in 2011.
Media reports in Libya first revealed the development involving the Dar property which also goes by the name Ledger Hotel. The new management accuses a former managing director of illegally controlling the hotel since 2016. The former MD is a Libyan national. He allegedly changed all ownership documents at the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (Brela) as well as bank accounts to his names. The Citizen’s attempts to speak to the accused had not bore fruit since the take over reports broke out.
But current MD Wesam Najem, also a Libyan, said it had been a huge struggle to recover the ownership but noted that with the help of Tanzania government, the hotel was restored back. “We had nothing to show that the hotel belonged to the Libyan government because the former MD changed it to an individual company,” he said.
Bahari Beach Hotel was built in 2003 during Gadaffi’s reign.
The hotel is situated along a white sand beach in Kunduchi and extends on 24 hectares, on the Indian Ocean shores. Kunduchi is about 25 kilometres from the city centre of Dar es Salaam. Mr Najem told The Citizen that the Libyan Attorney General had issued an arrest warrant for the accused through the help of Interpol.
He said government bodies helped to recover the hotel and will support it to meet its remaining tax and other statutory obligations.
The task ahead is to the management to restore the hotel to its former glory by renovating all the more than 100 cottage rooms.
Further he noted that they have also entered an initial agreement with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to pay the current liabilities on a monthly basis so as to complete the former and current payments after a period of time.
“This has been made possible after we were able to restore back our Bank account and now using the money to pay debts as well salaries of our staff that had not been paid for a period,” he said.
He said that after winning the battle they are now left with the responsibility of restoring the hotel back to its state after it was left in a dilapidated condition with only 20 rooms out of 110 rooms in good condition for rent.
According to him, they have restored at least 86 rooms back to a good state while repairs in other areas including gardens, reception areas and other facilities are still undergoing renovation.
Contacted, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Corporation, Dr Damas Ndumbaro said he was not aware of the situation nor who the owners of the hotel are. Further efforts to contact the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment did not prove fruitful because neither of the high ranking officials was picking their phone.