Former Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime did not sell the once-renowned Presidential Hotel in Enugu to his crony, neither does he have any interest in the prime property. The property is being restored and will be managed by Primeview Hotels Ltd., a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the state government and some private interests, says Chuma Anosike, the vice chairman of Primeview, reports Bennett Oghifo
The sturdy property known as Presidential Hotel, Enugu was once an unmistakable landmark in the Southeastern part of the country. Regrettably, as time went by, this exquisite property, owned by the Enugu State Government, lost its reputation for sundry reasons. Patronage slowed and it was shut down after a while to cut loses.
But then the government thought it was counterproductive to let the prime asset go to waste, which was the reason in opted for a concessionaire to manage the property.
There are several allegations of wrong doing in respect of the concession agreement and state of the property. The recent allegations are by a politician in Enugu State, who was quoted to have said that the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Sullivan Chime sold the property to his crony and that the premises has been left to rundown to the extent that herdsmen graze their cattle there.
A statement by Barrister Chuma Anosike, the Vice Chairman of Primeview, the SPV that owns the asset said their attention was drawn to a publication in a national newspaper (not THISDAY) of 30th June 2016 where a certain person (name withheld) made comments regarding the status of Hotel Presidential, Enugu, “all of which are false, malicious and totally unfounded.
“Ordinarily, we would have ignored same but for the underlying mischief which pervaded the entire article and its potential to cause disaffection within the populace.”
Sale of Hotel Presidential…
The vice chairman said in order to set the records straight and avoid further dissemination of false and misleading information, “we wish to state as follows: Primeview Hotels Ltd is, by a duly registered title document, the Concessionaire of Hotel Presidential, Enugu and has been in occupation of the property since August 2013.”
The statement said, “We also find equally ridiculous the allegation that the Hotel was sold by the immediate past Governor, Barrister Sullivan Chime to his “crony”. A cursory investigation into the nature of the transaction that gave rise to the current Concession Agreement will expose the ignorance and/or deliberate mischief of the author.”
The Hotel Presidential, Anosike said was never sold, explaining that Primeview Hotels Ltd, the current concessionaire is a Joint Venture Company whose shareholders are; E-Hospitality Services Ltd (owned by private interests) and Hotel Presidential Ltd (owned by the Enugu State Government). “No sale transaction ever took place nor was any contemplated as part of the agreement.
“Barrister Chime has no direct or indirect interest in either E-Hospitality Services Ltd or Primeview Hotels Ltd. Both companies are duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and their corporate documents are easily accessible to anyone who wishes to inquire.
“Without holding brief for Barrister Chime, as we are sure he is well able to defend himself, at no time during the negotiation or thereafter did he solicit or demand for any stake in either company or any personal benefit for himself.
“Again, we are at a loss as to why a responsible person would seek to publish such deliberate falsehood.”
On herdsmen, Anosike said, “The property is and has been under the control of our security personnel and at no time since we took possession of the property has the hotel premises been used by herdsmen for grazing of cattle. This is a most preposterous allegation as a visit to the hotel premises will confirm this fact.
“We therefore wonder why the author would choose to make such a wild, baseless and tendentious statement, especially given the sensitivity of the issue of rampaging herdsmen who have recently caused so much carnage and grief in Enugu State. The only logical conclusion is that the author on his own or in concert with others is acting out a script to deliberately smear the image of Primeview Hotels Ltd in order to achieve an ulterior objective.
He explained that “the project is delayed because the investors are waiting for the new government to appoint its representative to the company. The new government also needs to sign off on the new execution plan because of the foreign currency changes in Nigeria. The third issue is that of the former Lessee whose agreement was terminated and had gone to Court.”
Current Status of Hotel Presidential Ltd…
Since taking possession of the property, Primeview has spent over US$1 million (One Million US Dollars Only) on the following amongst other things; Conduct of Geological Survey; Conduct of Topographical Survey; Conduct of Structural Integrity Test on Building; Conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment; Complete Strip out of Pipes, Wires, etc in the entire Building; complete water proofing and refurbishment of Roof.”
He said, “To those who are knowledgeable about the international hospitality business, they would appreciate that a lot of preliminary work has to be done before visible activity on site will commence. Following the strip out exercise, the existing structure may not paint a ‘pretty picture’ but it is a necessary part of the complete refitting and renovation which we are committed to executing in order to produce a truly world- class Hospitality facility. Consequently, to the untrained eye, it may look like the doors, windows and sanitary wares have ‘been carted away’.
“As our partners in progress, we have engaged with the new administration in the State with a view to moving the Project forward as soon as possible.
“We remain confident that with the completion of our refitting programme, the once iconic property will not only recover its lost glory, it will become a reference point for hospitality in the South-East Zone and become a major revenue earner for the State which is a shareholder, and act as a catalyst to drive socio-economic activities in the state.”