The reports, published on 5th July 202, claim that Said Abdullahi Deni, President of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, had paid $21.7 million to acquire Sarova Stanley Hotel, located in Nairobi city centre.
The news was shared on screenshots mimicking mainstream media Facebook accounts under the headline, ‘Regional president in Somalia buys a luxurious hotel in Kenya’s Capital’. The posts don’t give more details but have been shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.
A fact-check by BusinessToday reveals, first, that the Facebook accounts shown to have published the information are mimics of the Nation, KTN and Citizen TV Facebook pages. A search of these posts on Facebook and Twitter does not yield any pages but just the screenshots shared.
Secondly, the management of Sarova Hotels and Resorts Kenya, the parent company of Sarova Stanley Hotel, has dismissed the sale claims, terming the posts as fake. “Sarova Hotels and Resorts Kenya would like to caution the public on a post making rounds on social media alleging that our Nairobi hotel, Sarova Stanley, has been bought by a business tycoon from Somalia. The aforementioned post is not factual and is FAKE NEWS,” said the hotel in a statement.
Sarova Hotels and Resorts Kenya would like to caution the public on a post making rounds on social media alleging that our Nairobi hotel, Sarova Stanley, has been bought by a Business Tycoon from Somalia. The aforementioned post is not factual and is FAKE NEWS…..
— Sarova Hotels Kenya (@SarovaHotelsKen) July 5, 2021
The report came a few days after the hotel reopened its Nairobi City Hotel, Sarova Stanley, to the public after a temporary closure last year following the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Sarova Hotels and Resorts Kenya would further like to notify the public that if a sale of any of our hotels was to take place, an official statement from the Company’s Board of Directors would be released,” the hotel added in a statement on Twitter.
VERDICT: Reports of Sarova Stanley Hotel being sold have been denied by the hotel’s management and are, therefore, FAKE news.
[This story was produced by Business Today in partnership with Code for Africa’s iLAB data journalism programme, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie ]