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Pay up or else, Ugandan government tells hotel group

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KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – The fallout of the Commonwealth Summit in late 2007 continues to make waves, both in political circles where members of parliament continue to press government for answers on c

KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – The fallout of the Commonwealth Summit in late 2007 continues to make waves, both in political circles where members of parliament continue to press government for answers on contract awards and funds spent, but also for the business sector, from which government in turn is trying to recover money advanced ahead of guests arriving, to secure their accommodation.

The Imperial Hotel Group was, probably unfairly, singled out by the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for long overdue refunds on accommodation payments advanced but not utilized. While government now says the rooms were not ready at the time for occupancy by visitors, the hotel in turn claims that the rooms booked and confirmed were ready but guests either failed to arrive or opted for cheaper accommodation on arrival, subsequently triggering no show and cancellations fees for the one week summit according to the hotel group’s terms and conditions.

With some US$1.6 million claimed by government, this matter may well head to court, while sources from within the hotel group saying they would vigorously defend themselves against the claims providing evidence of non arrivals of booked parties, lower numbers of guests from those delegations which had arrived. In particular, members of the media block booked at the Imperial Royale Hotel on arrival trying to bargain their room rates down and, failing to do so, walking out – attracting the very no show and cancellation fees the hotel now intends to offset against government’s prepayment.