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November 18, 2018

'Billionaire' defends wall, says it cost Sh50 million

Dr. Liliana Pierrino who is in charge of Lion group of hotels investments owned by Billionaire Flavio Briatore in Africa addresses the Star at Lion in the Sun luxurious resort in Malindi over the issue of Sea wall on November 22 this month. Photo Alphonce Gari
Dr. Liliana Pierrino who is in charge of Lion group of hotels investments owned by Billionaire Flavio Briatore in Africa addresses the Star at Lion in the Sun luxurious resort in Malindi over the issue of Sea wall on November 22 this month. Photo Alphonce Gari

The Billionaire Resort management says they built a sea wall to protect their Sh1 billion property from erosion.

Dr Liliana Pierrino, the Lion’s Group of Companies officer in charge of billionaire Flavio Briatore’s investments in Africa, says they spent Sh50 million to build the sea wall using imported material. He disputes claims the wall is meant to extend land for their rich clients and block the public from walking freely at the beach.

Pierrino says when they bought the property, which was formerly Jambo Beach Hotel, the high water mark was more than 200 metres away.

Pierrino said the sea wall was the only option to save their luxurious property and the occupants. “We had no intention to build a sea wall two years ago during the summer season. But erosion and movement of the sea had started raising sand. It reached the swimming pool. We went to Nema and they approved it,’’ he said.

Before the approval, he said, they told KWS to suggest another system of sea wall, but KWS did not provide an alternative.

“We spent a half a million US dollars (Sh50 million) to import proper gabions that would not destroy the sea,’’ he said. Pierrino said the wall is eco-friendly.

“The wall is not there to keep away anyone but to protect property. We have a lot of property in the public beach.”

He said the resort management was also concerned about the turtles. “We are concerned too about the turtles because it’s part of the beauty and nature, but most of them are away outside the marine park,’’ he said.

He says the erosion had to be stopped to avoid loss of property and even lives of the people.

“We cannot act against nature, it’s nature that’s moving the sand. When we made the project of the sea wall, we designed swift shape that even turtles can walk on it. In two months time the wall will be covered naturally,’’ he said.

Pierrinno wonders why the Malindi North resident association has not protested against other hotels in Watamu and Malindi that have built permanent sea walls made of concrete.

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