Kenya’s Guaranty Trust Bank has, legally, initiated the process of auctioning Njenga Karume’s Jacaranda Hotel.
The family of the late Njenga Karume, a former defence minister, continues to face daunting challenges in the quest to manage his vast estate. The troubled empire is facing a litmus test with the planned auction of the prime Jacaranda Hotel in Nairobi to clear a bank loan.
In his prime, Karume was the biggest distributor of beer maker East African Breweries Limited’s products, a lucrative, long-term contract that earned him billions of shillings over the years.
Jacaranda Hotel, which is among the few surviving businesses that the late politician left behind, has been earmarked for sale to recover a Sh257.6 million loan owed to Guaranty Trust Bank.
The auction notice comes after the Kenya Revenue Authority last year lined up auctioneers to recover value added tax (VAT) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) arrears amounting to Sh153 million owed by the hotel.
Karume left the vast estate under the management of trustees before he succumbed to cancer in 2012. The estate has been the subject of a bitter dispute between some of his children and the trustees, spilling even to the court, with the latest effort to call a truce through mediation seemingly faltering.