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Private Labs Seek Refund for Expenses on COVID-19 Testing Space in Entebbe

The labs that include City Medicals, Case Medical Centre, and Medipal Hospital are each demanding a refund of USD 18,000 (65 million Shillings), from the hotel through its agent, Fremax Property Services and Management Ltd. The three laboratories allegedly paid a security deposit of USD 4,500 and USD 13,500 as rent for the months of September, October, and November 2021.
Private laboratories that had set up COVID-19 testing centres at Entebbe International Airport are seeking a refund for all the funds paid as rent and security deposits to Peniel Beach Hotel.

The labs that include City Medicals, Case Medical Centre, and  Medipal Hospital are each demanding a refund of USD 18,000  (65 million Shillings), from the hotel through its agent, Fremax Property Services and Management Ltd. The three laboratories allegedly paid a security deposit of USD 4,500  and USD 13,500 as rent for the months of September, October, and November 2021.

The commitments were made after health minister Dr Jane Ruth Acheng directed all accredited laboratories to set up laboratories at Peniel Beach to ease the testing of all arriving passengers. The hotel, through its agent; Fremax Property Services and Management, asked each of the laboratories to pay USD 150 per double room daily to cover 3 calendar months, on the understanding that the amounts paid were refundable, in the event the mandator exercise did not take off.

But the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 response chaired by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja postponed the mandatory testing for two weeks. Later, on September 15,  the government announced that it would carry out out mandatory testing for all in-bound passengers at Entebbe International Airport which rendered the tenancy agreements redundant.

They now argue that "In light of the fact that the mandatory exercise has not materialised as envisaged from the onset, we find it necessary to seek for a refund of all the money you received as a commitment to rent space at your premises for the sole purpose of running COVID-19 testing laboratories.” they stated in a joint letter.

But Fremax Property Services and Management rejected the request saying that the entities are free to use the rented space for the remaining periods as provided. 

The company adds that the hotel cannot refund any money because it cancelled bookings from a group of tourists who usually occupy three-quarters of the hotel rooms between September and October to provide space for the laboratories. It adds that the hotel also made several modifications to match the needs of the laboratories such as boosting electrical, water, internet lines, and air conditioning, among others.