Economy

MPs give Treasury a week to resolve Uchumi land sale row

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The decline in the valuation of Uchumi Supermarkets is part of a wider bear run at the bourse. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Parliament has given the Treasury seven days to resolve the impending auction of Uchumi Supermarkets’ land on Langata Road over Sh162 million debt.

The National Assembly’s Finance and Planning committee has directed Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo to meet with UBA Bank, the Kenya Development Corporation, and creditors to find a way forward on how to save the multi-million shillings property from the auctioneer’s hammer.

Read: Uchumi demands Sh3bn from KDF in asset auction deal

The committee met Dr Kiptoo over the High Court ruling that allowed UBA Bank to sell the land to recover the debt.

The committee is investigating the matter after Soy MP David Kiplagat sought a statement from the Treasury on the proposed auction of the prime Uchumi Hyper Supermarkets property.

“We are granting you seven days to meet with the UBA Bank and other agencies owed by Uchumi Supermarkets to find an amicable settlement to save this prime property from auction,” said Mr Kuria Kimani, who chairs the committee.

“Had the Treasury, which injected Sh1.2 billion bailout and a shareholder at Uchumi acted promptly, the court would not have allowed UBA to auction the property.”

Mr Kimani said the court granted UBA Bank orders to auction the property after the Treasury failed to put in an objection even after postponing judgement for 10 days.

The Treasury, which holds 14.67 percent shareholding in Uchumi, failed to defend the case filed by the UBA.

Last year, the lender dropped plans to auction the land after it emerged that the government was planning to compulsorily acquire it and the bank would first be paid, after the sale, as it holds the title to the property as security.

Read: Uchumi landlords reclaim premises

This, however, did not happen and the lender revived the application to sell the land to recover its money.

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