Auctioneers descend on troubled supermarket
Woes of the struggling supermarket chain Nakumatt deepened on Wednesday after auctioneers forcefully threw the retailer out of the Nyali mall building in Mombasa after a high court ordered their eviction for defaulting on rent payment.
The Supermarket, formerly the biggest retail chain the country, was said to have accumulated rent arrears of up to Sh.27.8 million.
The exercise attracted huge crowds as curious residents and tourists milled around the area surprised by the turn of events.
Others were on a mission to loot but police and private guards kept them at bay.
They watched as vegetables, rice, sugar, biscuits, fruits and more were destroyed during the exercise.
A Makuri Auctioneers official, Joel Musya who supervised the eviction exercise said he had received directions from the owner of the building to evict the tenant following a court order issued on Monday at the Mombasa High Court.
“We are just executing a court order from the Court. We are evicting the tenant who is Nakumatt Holding for failing to pay rent arrears. Whoever has their goods should remove them. The workers are happy because they have not been paid for months,” said Musya.
The High Court in Mombasa on Monday ordered the supermarket to vacate the City Mall premises.
In his ruling, Judge Charles Yano said owners of the building, Ideal Location Limited were at liberty to evict the tenant for failing to pay accumulated rent arrears of Sh27.8 million. It is said that Nakumatt had not contested the allegations.
An eviction notice states that pursuant to a court order dated March 6, 2018 with regard to Ideal Locations Limited versus Nakumatt Holdings Limited, the former has exercised its right to eject the latter from its property due to failure by the supermarket to meet its obligations under the signed and registered lease between the two parties.
“Ideal Locations Limited remains committed to operating within the confines of the law and is thankful the legal and justice system was able to clearly see the injustice of a tenant continuing to stay in a property without paying rent along with failing to meet numerous other conditions of the signed lease,” read the notice.
The eviction comes barely a week after the supermarket’s new management sacked over 50 employees.
Shaila Mbaisi, an employee from the Cinemax outlet, claimed she was notified of her retrenchment through a mobile short message demanding her to collect her letter from the management.
Some of the employees we talked to claimed the management served them with letters of dismissal under grounds of insolvency.
She said their statutory remittances were not being paid adding that their pension has been deducted from August 2016 but has not been remitted to NSSF.
And with the eviction order, at least 200 other employees were left jobless yet all of them were employed on permanent and pensionable basis.
The employees said they have been struggling to fend for their families for the eight months Nakumatt Holdings failed to pay them. The departments affected were security, shop assistants, procurement and administration.
Nakumatt Holdings had four branches in Mombasa among them Nakumatt Likoni, Nakumatt Cinemax, Nakumatt Nyali and Nakumatt Bamburi.
By Hussein Abdullahi