How Much Cherera 4 Paid To Use Serena Hotel For Presser

The four commissioners used the hotel between August 15 and 16, 2022 for press conferences

How Much Cherera 4 Paid To Use Serena Hotel For Presser
Former IEBC Vice-chair, Juliana Cherera during a press address at Serena Hotel in Nairobi. /FILE

Serena Hotel in Nairobi has dismissed accommodating the four suspended Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners on Monday, August 15 where their infamous press conference saw them dismiss the August 9 presidential election results.

The General Manager of Serena Hotel Anthony Chege told Justice Aggrey Muchelule, the chairperson of the tribunal investigating the four commissioners that the quartet that includes three who resigned such as former Vice-Chair, Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi and suspended Irene Masit had used the hotel for a press conference.

According to Chege, the four commissioners used the hotel between August 15 and 16, 2022 for press conferences at a cost of Ksh60,000 for the service.

Serena Hotel in Nairobi. /SERENA HOTELS

He added that Serena Hotel only allows its clients to use the facility for the issuance of media communication.

“We, however, do not take any responsibility for the statements made.

“We charge Ksh30,000 for a press conference at the hotel gardens. The requests for the press conferences on the 15th and 16th of August 2022 were made at the reception. The payments were settled at the reception,” stated Chege.

He went on to reveal that one Edwin Ogwe paid Serena Hotel Ksh30,000 through mobile money means at 5:12 pm on August 15, 2022.

The following day (August 16), when the four commissioners issued a follow-up press conference, Ogwe also paid Ksh30,000 for access to the hotel gardens through mobile money means at 2:32 pm that day.

On the tribunal’s request to have access to surveillance camera recordings for August 15 and August 16 at the Serena Hotel, Chege said: “Nairobi Serena Hotel has a very large number of cameras of high resolution, which require large storage capacity. The system overwrites after 30 days. The four-month-old data is not recoverable.”

“We remain available for any other information required," he assured.

Meanwhile, the accommodations manager at Yaya apartments Simon Miller confirmed initial allegations that the four were booked into the exclusive apartment in Nairobi's affluent Kilimani neighbourhood, which presented logs that showed that the four commissioners checked in on August 15, with their bookings done by Ogwe.

They were booked into the apartments on the aforementioned dates and stayed in rooms 21, 23 and 27 together with their security detail.

"On arrival, two of the lady commissioners stayed in room 21 and two of the gentlemen stayed in room 23 and then security stayed in 27," he told the tribunal.

Miller, a witness appearing on behalf of the hotel, noted that the four commissioners "checked in on the 15th at night and checked out on the afternoon of the 19th." On the 15th, they did not issue their personal documents to key in the accommodation details and also did not personally sign the log books.

"We insisted on getting documents and we were promised to get them the next day," stated Miller. 

"The commissioners did not sign the booking but their security details are the ones who signed. We had asked two of them to sign the documents on behalf of the rest and did not want to spend much time at the reception. Two payments were done via mobile money and one in cash by Edwin Ogwe."

For further proof, the tribunal analysed CCTV footage presented before the committee, where commissioner Massit was seen entering a lift from the basement with the aid of the hotel's chief of security.

Miller went on to add that while the commissioners were staying in the hotel, prominent leaders allied to the Azimio la Umoja coalition paid them a visit and they included Azimio's Executive Director Raphael Tuju and KANU Secretary General Nick Salat, in reference to records seen from visitor and vehicle movement logs.

Tuju visited room 21 alongside his security personnel while Salat visited room 21 on August 18, 2022.

Miller also noted that one Samuel Onyango visited room 21 on August 16 and one George Mungare Kigoro visited the same room on August 18. As for a number of employees who might have possibly seen the commissioners during their three-day stay, Miller said that they are no longer working at the hotel.

The rooms go for approximately Ksh17,683 per night, as per different hotel booking websites. The Cherera four were then believed to have checked out of the apartments on August 19 at 3 pm.

Yaya Apartments in Kilimani, Nairobi. /FACEBOOK