The 5 year long attempt by the notorious AYA brothers to build and complete a Hilton Hotel in Kampala has apparently come to an end this weekend as news are breaking of Malaysias NAZA Group having acquired the incomplete property lock stock and barrel for a staggering 230 million US Dollar, according to a well informed source in Kampala.
The conglomerate, better known for its automotive business and car franchises in Malaysia including such noble brands as Maserati and Ferrari as well as ordinary brands like Peugeot and KIA, also has a hotel and property development division, owning hotels in Malaysia and in California already.
It could not be established over the weekend if NAZA will upon completion of the hotel, thought to still take a considerable period of time, manage it themselves or, like with their US properties, take a franchise of a globally leading hospitality group or even have it managed by one of the many contenders now surely swamping their offices with offers as the AYAs are finally out of the way.
The AYA brothers, named after one of their milling enterprises in Uganda but otherwise known as Hamid, got the prime land for free from the government of Uganda in 2006, displacing the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation from their Nakasero Hill location on the double, after promising to build a Hilton Hotel in time for the 2007 November Commonwealth Summit, but singularly failed to meet a single deadline inspite of constant full mouthed statements and threats against the media, including this correspondent for allegedly hostile reporting. If indeed the hotel was sold at the price mentioned, and considering that the land was given to them for free and that they have spent according to analysts not more than 100 million US Dollars until now, they will have made the proverbial killing and it is only hoped that the Uganda Revenue Authority demands and receives their share in line with recent taxation demands in the oil sector when share interests were sold. Be that however as it may, the hotel site will surely now get fresh momentum and see the building and in particular the interior completed sooner rather than later, adding on opening another 300 rooms and suites to an increasingly more competitive hospitality market in Kampala.