Amid controversy, Madhvani to upgrade former Queen’s Hotel to an international 5-star hotel 

Last Updated on: 15th May 2023, 07:34 am

Jinja, May 15, 2023: Plans are underway to reconstruct the former Ripon Falls Hotel to a modern international standard. The new development will make it one of the best hotels in Jinja City and Uganda as a whole, owners say. 

The Madhvani Group of Companies bought the hitherto dilapidated hotel that was built by the colonial government to host Queen Elizabeth II for the grand opening of the Owen Falls Dam in 1954.

The hotel was named after George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon who was President of the Royal Geographical Society (1859-1960) who funded the expedition for the discovery of the Source of the Nile.

The information available indicates that Madhavani bought the hotel situated on plots 31, 33 and 35 Nile Crescent overlooking Lake Victoria from former owner Ali Fadhul (RIP) who was a senior army officer and governor during the 8-year regime of President Idi Amin Dada.

To further bolster their legal ownership, the title for the property has now been transferred to Madhvani in a 99-year lease which came into effect on 12 May 2022 when it was issued.

The above procedure followed the dismissal of the 2017 Consolidated application involving the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB), Warris Ali Fadhul, Ben Koyesiga and Commissioner Land Registration.

“…I hereby order that the Consolidated Applications are dismissed, that the applicants DAPCB, Cable International Ltd and Ben Koyesiga shall pay costs of this suit…” reads part of the ruling by the Deputy Registrar Land Division.

According to SK Iyengar, the Company Secretary of Madhvani Group, they want to renovate and modify the facility that will help in boosting the tourism sector in the strategic Jinja City. Jinja was once the industrial hub of East Africa.

The facility is strategically opposite Jinja Sailing Club, a modern and up-market luxury cruise facility on the shores of Lake Victoria near the Source of the Nile which attracts high-profile guests locally and from outside Uganda.


As can be recalled, the building gathered controversy in the last couple of years with a number of people claiming ownership and promising to redevelop it into a modern hotel.

Among them include Ben Koyesiga who claims to have got the power of attorney from the original owners, Cable International owned by Minister Alice Kaboyo and the late Ali Fadhul Waris as well as Madhvani who emerged victorious.

Kaboyo claims to have obtained a temporary allocation from DAPCB which she used to pay off the goodwill of more than 30 sitting tenants who had occupied the facility.

However, Simon Anywar who speaks for Cable International Ltd dismisses Madhvani’s claims, saying the special certificate of title was issued in error and that they have already started a process of cancelling it.

Without providing any documentary evidence, Anywar claims there are five court orders restraining Madhvani from carrying out any activity on the facility whose ownership, he alleges, is still under contention.

Madhvani bought the facility at shs600m from Fadhul who wanted the money to facilitate his then deteriorating health condition which eventually killed him on November, 2,2021 at the age of 81.

Many leaders and the business community have welcomed the news of upgrading the once-upon-a-time very powerful hotel, saying it will add value and beauty to the now fast-growing tourism and industrial Jinja City.

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