Drama as owner and managers tussle over luxurious Sunpalm resort

The Luxurious Sunpalm resort in Watamu PHOTO COURTESY

There was drama in Watamu after a hotel owner moved in to evict three managers she accused of attempting to swindle her off her property.

The director of Sun Palm resort Mrs. Eleonora Cozzi had earlier obtained an eviction order from the courts and successfully evicted the three managers of Italian origin whom he accused of breaching the management contract they entered.

The  44 room hotel and ten apartments that sit on a 24-acre piece of land have been the scene of a bitter tussle over the past few months.

A spot check by Baraka FM revealed that 60 guests of different nationalities were enjoying their holidays at the facility at the time of the eviction drama.

Reports by staff members indicated that at the time of eviction, the managers had tried to persuade the guests to leave the hotel.

“The previous management had a management contract and she wanted them out and I found the place with guests whom they had tried to scare away but they stayed put and we are serving them well,” The current managing director Ravi Rohra said.

However, the current management has insisted that guests were not affected by the eviction tussle.

“We entered into a six-year management contract and not a lease and we discovered that they had breached the contents of the contract hence destroying property I invested I had to write them a warning letter but they did not comply forcing me to write them an eviction notice because I want to repossess and run my own property,” she said.

She added that the multimillion beach resort was constructed in 1999 and started operating in 2005 but she entered into a six year management contract with Africa Kivulini management in 2016 and which was to end in 2021 but the latter started changing the design of the hotel thus breaching the terms of the contract.

The head chef at the facility Nyale Jefa said that when the three were evicted they tried to persuade their employees to leave too but most of them stayed put.

The hotel has been the scene of a bitter tussle for the past year.

In May, the hotel was ordered by a court in Malindi to pay sh 34 million to businessman David Pius Mugambi in rent arrears.

“The 1st applicant deposits the full decretal amount to the tune of Kshs. 34,000,000/= (thirty-four million) in an interest-earning account in the joint names of the counsels on record which is the counsels for the 1st Appellant and the Respondent.” The court ruled in May.