Court Saves White Rhino Hotel From Auctioneers

The Court of Appeal has halted the planned auction of the White Rhino Hotel in Nyeri town on the condition that it pay KCB Bank Sh69 million within 60 days.

The order was given by a three-judge bench comprised of justices Wanjiru Karanja, Lucy Kimaru, and Aggrey Muchelule.

It was supplied following the signing of an agreement between White Rhino’s managers, Cedarwood Hotels and Resorts Investments Company, and KCB.

The consent demonstrated that the hotel had agreed to pay the money pending the outcome of its expected appeal.

According to court documents, the hotel appealed last week following a judgement by High Court Judge Florence Muchemi on November 10 that permitted the bank to resume the auction for a Sh670 million debt.

In his decision, Justice Muchemi determined that Cedarwood had used the property as collateral for a debt dating back to November 2013.

The appellate judges also ordered the hotel managers to file their intended appeal within 60 days of the verdict.

“Failure to present the appeal before the court within the specified time frame will automatically allow the respondent, KCB, to exercise its statutory power of sale and proceed with the auction,” the court ruled.

The hotel’s appeal is its second attempt to halt the auction, which was originally scheduled for June 2 but was temporarily halted after Justice Muchemi issued injunction orders.

Following her decision to allow KCB to proceed with the auction, it was put back on the market, with the sale scheduled for November 30.

Garam Auctioneers has been hired by KCB to sell the 112-year-old hotel, which was founded in 1910 by three Europeans: Berkely Cole, Lord Cranworth, and Sandy Herd.