Uganda’s taxman has commenced the auction of Nakumatt goods as it moves to recover millions of shillings owed by the struggling regional retail chain.
The Uganda Revenue Authority on Tuesday started the public auctions by selling perishable goods owned by Nakumatt.
The clearance sales at two of Nakumatt’s Kampala outlets, Bugolobi and Kamwokya, commenced even as the taxman said that talks are still ongoing with the retailer over possible recovery of Sh7.3 million ($71,000) dues.
The URA last month took over Nakumatt’s operations in Uganda to give itself first priority on all income, as several creditors in Kampala and Kenya bay for the retailer’s blood.
The move saw it take over three Nakumatt branches and the retailer’s warehouse, which also doubles up as its Uganda headquarters.
“The clearance sale has started with Bugolobi branch today. After, we move to Kamwokya as we continue talks with the client,” the Ugandan taxman said on its official Twitter page.
Nakumatt is facing huge debt woes in Kenya and Uganda with several creditors surfacing to claim at least Sh130 million since March.
The URA on Tuesday said it will later advertise auction dates for Nakumatt’s non-perishable goods. The taxman is expected to wind up with auctions at the Oasis branch, also in Kampala.
“The (Nakumatt) management has been requested to make payment proposals for the outstanding balance to no avail. To mitigate the loss, we are proceeding to sell the perishable goods this afternoon. We shall advertise and sell the other items thereafter,” a URA source said Tuesday.
Suppliers in Uganda have also filed court cases to recover unpaid invoices and rent arrears. The retailer is also facing two insolvency suits in Nairobi.
A Kenyan court last week gave the struggling retailer a lease of life by issuing a blanket order barring all creditors from attaching Nakumatt’s property until the insolvency suits have been determined.
Nakumatt’s landlords—High Park Mall (Highridge), Thika Road Mall (Roysambu), Integer Limited (Uhuru Highway) and Highport Properties which has leased six godowns to Nakumatt—have all attempted to push the distress button on Nakumatt since March, before the court intervened.
The two insolvency suits were filed by tissue manufacturer Africa Cotton Industries and tea processor Gold Crown Beverages.
NIC Bank #ticker:NIC had also commenced recovery processes against Nakumatt, after instructing auctioneers to sell two generators located at its City Square branch near City Hall. The retailer however denied auctioneers entry into the supermarket.