Is This Ad for Jobs at Mara Ritz Palazzo Hotel Genuine?

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By Naomi Wanjiku

Facebook post claims that a hotel called Mara Ritz Palazzo, within the Maasai Mara in southwestern Kenya is offering jobs.

The post alleges that the hotel is recruiting waiters/waitresses, chef/kitchen staff, front desk staff, receptionists, room attendants, barmen and cleaners. The hotel promises a remuneration of between Sh20,000 to Sh38,000.

“A new tourist resort within Maasai Mara urgently requires staff (accommodation & food-staff menu provided). To apply, send your CV, application, and ID copy to HR. Mara Palazzo Ritz Email- hr@ritzresort.co.ke OR mararesort@yahoo.com,” the post reads in part.

Applicants are advised to visit the hotel’s website to get more information about the jobs.

The eligibility for jobs include just a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) certificate and requires no experience in the hospitality industry, the post claims.

“The above vacancies are also open to those with no prior experience in the hospitality industry since personal attitude and passion go hand in hand with experience,” states the application in part.

Those battling infectious air-borne diseases like tuberculosis are not allowed to apply. Some of the successful applicants have already received their appointment letter which instructs them to report at the hotel on 18 June 2021, the day which the hotel will be opening, according to the post.

Successful applicants are further advised to sign their appointment letter and for those who fail to give a response by June 15, 2021, their offer letter will be automatically withdrawn.

“If you disagree with, do not understand, or wish to clarify anything, feel free to contact us Monday-Sunday between 10:00 am up to 4:00 pm,” the human resource manager, Hillary K. Kibiwott, reads part of the post which also provides three different contacts that applicants can use to make inquiries.

Verification

The location of the hotel in the appointment letter is different from what is on its website. The appointment letter says the hotel is in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Maasai Mara Sekenani while the website says the resort is located at the Mara North Conservancy, Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Additionally, Mara Ritz Palazzo is not listed among the hotels located at the Narok-based national reserve on these Maasai Mara travel sites here or here.

One of the successful applicants has been asked to pay Sh2,485 for the Government Tourism Health Food Handling Certificate. This is questionable as the same certificate is offered by the Nairobi County Government at Sh700.

PesaCheck has also received requests to fact-check the legitimacy of the job vacancies at Mara Ritz Palazzo. Just like the other job applicants, this successful candidate who messaged the PesaCheck WhatsApp tipline was also asked to pay some money.

“Evening, kindly check for me if “MARA RITZ PALAZZO” is hiring. I found the information on Facebook, I applied and received an appointment letter but I’m amazed they are asking for money,” the candidate on our tipline wrote.

The job applicant received the following message from Mara Ritz Palazzo, “To CONFIRM, ALL new MARA applicants MUST pay for the Govt TOURISM HEALTH & FOOD HANDLING cert fee of 2485/= at the Hotel Reception OR through our TILL no. 5922729 { LIPA na M-PESA then BUY GOODS & SERVICES} OR Mpesa to HR Mara Ritz Palazzo 0102844177 Mr. Kibiwott before 15th 6pm. “MARA RITZ PALAZZO”.

After doing a reverse image search, PesaCheck discovered that some of the images used to advertise Mara Ritz Palazzo are the same images used to advertise Mara Crescent sometime this year.

PesaCheck debunked a claim that Mara Crescent resort was offering jobs and found out that the hotel is non-existent and successful job applicants had also been asked to pay Sh2,475 for a Government Tourism Health & Food Handling certificate.

The first image used to advertise the accommodation at Mara Ritz Palazzo has been lifted from Leopard Hills Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa.

The second image used to advertise Mara Ritz Palazzo has been lifted from Ivory Tree Game Lodge in South Africa.

The third image that Mara Ritz Palazzo has used to advertise their accommodation was lifted from the Bakubung Bush Lodge’s website also in South Africa.

To confirm whether Mara Ritz Palazzo exists, PesaCheck contacted the director of communications at Narok County Government, Paul Tobiko, who told us he has not heard of such a resort at the Mara North Conservancy or the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

“The person I contacted is the Chief Officer of Tourism and Wildlife in Narok County Newton Mpaima because Newton will always know anything new there. That is his jurisdiction and he categorically told me that he doesn’t know of such a resort. I also called someone who works at the Mara and they also told me they are not aware of such a resort,” Tobiko told PesaCheck on the telephone.

PesaCheck also contacted the general manager of the Mara North Conservancy, Philip Valentine, who said there is no such resort in the conservancy.

“There is no organisation or camp of this name in Mara North Conservancy,” Valentine told PesaCheck through email.

Verdict

PesaCheck has looked into a Facebook post claiming a hotel called Mara Ritz Palazzo within the Maasai Mara is offering jobs and finds it to be a SCAM.

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