Arusha. Finally, properties belonging to an Arusha hotel chain will be sold to settle accumulated debts running into billions of shillings.
On Friday, the Labour Court ordered auctioning of various assets in order to raise Sh1.2 billion needed to pay salaries to the workers who were sent home.
Some 238 ex-employees of Impala and Naura Springs hotels, closed two years ago, filed a case demanding settlement of their accumulated salaries.
The two hotels, once among the leading outfits in the country’s safari capital, belonged to the Impala Hotels Group owned by the now late Meleo Mrema.
The tycoon passed on in South Africa in August 2017 leaving behind the two establishments and other hotels and commercial properties in Arusha and Moshi.
Another outfit, the iconic Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge outside the city, has been partly rented out for accommodation for students of the Institute of Accountancy Arusha. (IAA).
The Labour Court, during its sitting on Friday, also ordered the sale of several building plots at the Corridor Area, the leafy suburb of Arusha, in order to pay the debts.
The saga over accumulated debts by Impala Hotel Group such as accumulated salaries has dragged for years, roping in banks owned billions of shillings in unpaid loans.
On February 8, this year, the High Court in Arusha ordered the auctioning of four plots belonging to the hotel chain in order to pay the workers and settle the bank loans.
Judge Mohamed Gwae ruled that the four plots in Arusha city’s corridor area be auctioned to pay back Sh1.5 billion owed to the National Bank of Commerce (NBC) and the ex-workers.
Properties belonging to the late Mrema once dominated the hotel industry in Arusha and were opened to cater for the increasing number of tourists and conference delegates years ago.
The imposing Naura Springs along the Afrika Mashariki Road was opened in 2008, five years after Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, some 27km from the city.
The Impala Hotel, opened in the early 1990s, was the group’s flagship outfit in the city but has since degenerated into a ghost building after its closure.
In early 2019, an invitation for submission of bids to purchase two of the properties; Ngurdoto and Impala Hotel, were placed in the newspapers.