Barely few hours after describing reports of getting payments from State House as fake, Crossroads Hotel has changed its statement saying it only received K12.5 million from State House instead of K65 million as alleged.
It was revealed on Monday that State House has spent K65 million since July 5 on hotel bills for security trainers purportedly staying at Crossroads Hotel. State House was also accused of paying an inflated bill of K225,000 per room for the three experts and an agent identified as Miguel Elias.
Following the revelation on Monday, Crossroads released a statement describing the reports as fake. The hotel claimed that it has not received any payment from State House.
“As a law abiding business entity, Crossroads Hotel does not condone corruption and theft of public funds. As such, Crossroads Hotel can in no way be used as a conduit to defraud the government,” the Hotel said.
State House press secretary Brian Banda also described the reports as false.
On the same day, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it had received reports over the allegations and will launch investigations.
Crossroads Hotel then changed tune and confirmed receiving K12.5 million from State House through Miguel Elias.
One of the hotel’s directors Sameer Sacranie told the local media on Monday evening that they had checked their records which show that K12.5 million was paid through a State House Cheque.
According to Sacranie, Miguel had been paying cash but the Hotel noticed that one of the payments was a cheque from State House.
“In fact, I called Mr. Miguel this evening [yesterday] to my office and told him that we thought it was a personal cheque without knowing that it was a State House cheque and he said yes I gave a cheque of K12.5 million from State House because the activities I am doing here are funded by State House,” Sacranie said.
On costs of the room, Sacranie said the guests were initially staying in rooms costing $300 (about K225,000) a night but later moved to other rooms.
He said: “They stayed in those rooms just for about seven to eight days before they asked to be moved to other rooms which cost $90 per night and they were in these rooms for about a month. Mr. Miguel, who booked them, was in a $300 room, but he has asked us to move him to a cheaper one and he is still at the hotel.”
Meanwhile, social commentator has demanded authorities to investigate the hotel, saying its contradictions raise questions.
He said: “I think initially it was a cover-up. The denial was false. But when they heard the Anti-Corruption Bureau say it was going to investigate, they decided to come forward with the truth or part thereof.”