Tourist Paradise Investment Ltd played a huge role in the recent tearing down of the International Casino Complex at Museum Hill. Find out the full story.
August 2020 saw the International Casino Complex, which operated out of the buildings at Museum Hill, destroyed and it’s the end of a story that started all the way back in the 1960s.
This first-rate property has changed hands many times since it was initially leased to a gambling company with Italian links in 1968. The twisted tale ended up featuring court battles, suspicious changes of ownership, and the caveat emptor that led to its being razed.
The Origin Story
The story starts on October 1, 1968, with the Kenyan government awarding Tourist Paradise Investment Limited a 15-year lease for the I.587ha location. The terms and conditions attached to this agreement stated that, upon the expiry of the lease, all equipment would become the government’s and the buyer would not be compensated. The same rule was to apply for any improvements made to the area.
The lease was renewed in 1982 and registered for seven years in 1983. On September 22, 1994, the rental agreement was again extended, this time for 19 years.
Things Fall Apart
Tourist Paradise Investment Limited charged the property and buildings to the National Credit Bank Limited for a loan of KSh60 million in 1994 with consent from the Commissioner of Lands. In 2000, the asset management company additionally granted the location as a promissory note and guarantee to NCC Bank as extra security of their existing loan facility of KSh100 million. This time there was no consent given.
Tourist Paradise Investment Limited then started subletting sections of its business at Museum Hill, again without permission, and then reneged on their remit of a 1.5% payment of monthly gambling wins as training fees. They ended up refusing to pay an amount which eventually totalled KSh11 million.
As of the end of June 2000, Tourist Paradise Investment Limited had also baulked at paying over their 12% Gambling Tax on monthly winnings, and this debt rose to KSh80 million. Rent had also not been paid and finally, the government stepped in, stamping the location with a caveat emptor.
This did nothing to stop the tenants from continuing to conduct their business, however. But after Ketan Somaia had acquired an 80% stake in its shares, the organisation failed to service its KSh180 million loan.
This saw the bank selling the complex to Galaxy Walker Ltd and the buildings being torn down, taking with them a circuitous tale of mismanagement and broken contracts.