Residents’ association official sued for defamation by one of Kenya’s biggest hotels


Nairobi — A woman who has been sued by one of the country’s biggest tourist hotel for alleged defamation has denied the allegations.

Mrs Luciana Parazzi, the chairperson of the South Coast Diani Residents’ Association (SCRA) has been accused by the Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa that she allegedly emailed members a defamatory letter concerning the hotel.

Trouble started when signboards belonging to some hotels positioned at a road junction were removed with the help of Kwale County Council, and replaced with others of all the main hotels, which were put up in a manner that they did not pose any road hazard or reduce visibility of road users in the area.

However, Diani Reef declined to join in the scheme, stating that it was the best hotel in Africa, and therefore its signboard could not be placed anywhere near other hotels.

Sometimes in February, a team of workers from the hotel put up two large advertisement signboards at the centre of the flowerbeds at the junction, reducing visibility of road users.

Later the council removed them after SCRA project coordinator objected, but the hotel put up the signboards at night again.

Consequently, Mrs Parazzi sent an email to members about the fixing and removal of the signboards in which she stated that ‘these Diani Reef signboards were placed during the middle of the night by an Asian gentleman and a huge team of about 20+ labourers’.

Not taking the sentiments kindly, the plaintiff filed a case at the Mombasa High Court seeking a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from publishing defamatory words and an order of general damages.

The hotel claimed that the statement by Mrs Parazzi could be understood to mean the management was unethical, unscrupulous, fraudulent, and corrupt.

Further, that the hotel has no regard whatsoever to the rights and interests of the public, carries its business in utter disregard of the law and is involved in criminal activities.

Mrs Parazzi however states that the email containing the words complained of was sent to members under a moral duty, which was to make them aware of the events of the area.

The High Court declined to grant any orders and directed that all necessary documents be served before a hearing date is allocated.