Deputy President William Ruto has acquired 680 Hotel, the ten-storey Three Star Hotel at the heart of Nairobi’s central business district, at a staggering Sh3 billion.The Kenyan Weekly has established that the deal was sealed a few weeks ago and a down payment of Sh1.5 billion paid.The jumbo hotel along Kenyatta Avenue is owned by Indian tycoon Jac Patel who also owns the entire Sentrim Group of Hotels.
On Sunday, March 19, almost two weeks ago, Ruto and his eldest son Nick inspected the facility and were walked through the entire building.Highly placed sources at the hotel said the DP and his son visited after midnight to avoid raising suspicion that he was involved in the multi-billion deal.
The acquisition signals the self-proclaimed “Hustler’s” massive financial war chest as the country heads to the August 8, 2017 polls.
Sources at the hotel told The Kenyan Weekly that Ruto’s associates have been the face of the deal, making frequent visits to the facility.These include his Personal Assistant Farouk Kibet, a business man who owns a fleet of matatu’s only identified as Tel Aviv; and unidentified white man.
“Farouk is ever there at 680 since the deal was struck. The staff are very anxious that Ruto will overhaul the system,” a highly-placed source said.
680 Hotel is among a group of eight hotels in the Sentrim family.These include, Sentrim Boulevard, Sentrim Castle Royal, Sentrim Mara, Sentrim Tsavo, Sentrim Amboseli, Sentrim Elementaita and Sentrim Samburu.Sentrim 680 Hotel boasts of five conference halls with a combined capacity of 1,500 delegates.
The main guest area consists of the reception, lounge area, coffee shop, gift shop and restaurantserving a variety of African, European and Indian cuisines.Recently it opened what the management describes as “pulsating Sentropé Bar and Lounge.”
Lately, however, the hotel has been losing its initial allure and ambiance with many of the rooms turned into private offices.
Night prostitution at the neighbouring Simmers Bar has further watered down its place in the city as a meeting point for VIP’s, especially at night.
But it’s said Ruto is determined to revamp the facility and plans are afoot to erect a security fence and an external gate.It appears that Ruto is determined to be among the movers and shakers in the hospitality industry in the country.
He is keen to play in the league of the Kenyatta and the Moi families as he lays strategies for his 2022 presidential bid.
From tourism, horticulture, Media, banking, insurance, milk processing, land to farming and telecommunications, the Kenyatta family controls all sectors of Kenyan economy.
Last year, Ruto who already owns the controversial Four Star Weston Hotel bought Dolphin Hotel at Mombasa’s North Coast, adding onto his vast multi-billion empire.Weston Hotel, standing just opposite Wilson Airport along Lang’ata Road is built on public land belonging to the Directorate of Civil Aviation.
Slain graft crusader Jacob Juma had moved to Court seeking for the repossession of the land and demolition of the magnificent structure.Dolphin which has been heavily renovated was associated with jailed Ketan Somaia.
But Ruto’s massive empire, unshaken by hismulti-million weekly donations, may once again raise questions about the Hustler’s source of wealth.Ruto’s plush Eldoret home is almost three quarters done and the Chinese contractors are still on sight.
A huge dam and an airstrip have already been finalised.The stately home is estimated to sit on 20 acres, part of 700 acres bought by the DP in MoibenConstituency.
Sources told The Kenyan Weekly that the dam has diverted nearly all the water in the nearby Chepkoilel River,which has triggered a protest among residents.
In the last four years, Ruto has acquired a record three choppers.Most police vehicles today are also insured by his Amaco Insurance.There has been a silent protest in the insurance industry that since Ruto became DP, most lucrative contracts including the military and parastatals have been awarded to his firm.
NASA leaders have previously asked President Kenyatta to commission a lifestyle audit of the DP if he is serious about the war on corruption.
“How can anyone spend Sh25-30 million on harambees every week? Even if you are Barclays Bank or KCB, you don’t spend money like that,” notedBungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.
But a defiant Ruto claims “it is more blessings to give than to receive.”He says those questioning his wealth are jealous of his political progress.“A narrative was created in Kenya you cannot get anywhere, you cannot be President of Kenya, you cannot be Deputy President of Kenya, unless you have billions,” Ruto said.
“The William Ruto seated here, a character who was selling chickens at a railway in Eldoret, today is the Deputy President of Kenya.”
In his counter suit against Ruto, Activist Boniface Mwangi claims Ruto has been involved in corrupt land deals as a result of which his reputation does not deserve the protection of the court.They cite a case in which the High Court ordered Ruto to give Adrian Muteshi back his 100-acre land in Eldoret.
Another example is the Weston Hotel in Nairobi said tohave been built on land taken away from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.Ruto was also adversely mentioned in the grabbing of land belonging to the Prisons Department in Nairobi and also the land on which Processional Way in Nairobi is constructed.
Also cited in Mwangi’s filings is a criminal case in which Ruto, as Minister for Higher Education, was charged with grabbing Ngong Forest land.