2009-04-04 07:36:00 Hotel fire probed as arson hint surfaces By Mkinga Mkinga THE CITIZEN Police have launched an investigation into the cause of a fire which destroyed two tourist hotels in Bagamoyo about two week ago. The investigation follows speculations that Paradise Holiday Resort and Oceanic Bay Hotel could have deliberately been set on fire. The Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr Robert Manumba, confirmed that the team had been formed to probe the fires. "We cannot rely on information from the hotel owners alone; we need to to establish the cause or causes of the fire� whether it was accidental as we have been told by the hotel owners or not," he said. He said the team comprised senior officers from the police headquarters and fire brigade, electrical engineers, civil engineers, Tanesco, insurance experts and the intelligence. A police source told The Citizen that the decision to investigate the matter stemmed from conflicting accounts given by the hotel owners when questioned by the police. The source said police had information indicating that before the fire broke out, the hotel owner had circulated memos telling his employees to relocate. "We have realised that about 40 workers of the Paradise Hotel were issued with letters telling them to relocate to other hotels and restaurants owned by that man," the source said without naming the proprietor. Mr Manumba said the team was working closely with the office of Coast Regional Commissioner. "We have given them enough time so that they could prepare a good report that will help both the government and investors," Mr Manumba said. However, Paradise Holiday Resort owner Mohamed Nur was not aware of the probe team. He told The Citizen on Thursday he was only aware of insurance agents from South Africa who were on the ground to assess the damage. He further said that following the damage caused by the fire, the hotel had decided to relocate some of its workers to other hotels owned by the same establishment. Mr Nur also confirmed that fire outbreaks had been dogging his businesses. He said in 1993 a fire burnt his shoe factory in Morogoro. He said the building was not insured and he was not paid a single cent as a result. He further said that when he was operating in Mogadishu, Somalia, a family business was also went ablaze, killing several family members. This was at the height of civil wars in the troubled country. He said he built Paradise Holiday Resort using a Tanzania Investment Bank loan. The two adjacent hotels, which were once landmarks of the tourist town of Bagamoyo, was burnt a fortnight ago. According to the front office manager of Paradise Holiday Resort, Mr Godfrey Runyungu, the fire started in the kitchen after a gas tank exploded. Nobody was hurt, but nothing was saved as the two hotels were reduced to ashes. Paradise Holiday Resort had transformed Bagamoyo from a sleepy coastal town into a major conference town.