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Auctioneers descend on Uchumi outlet over rent arrears

Uchumi Supermarket's #ticker:UCHM woes deepened Tuesday as auctioneers raided its branch along Moi Avenue, Mombasa and made away with goods worth millions of shillings.

According to Makini Auctioneers, which carried out the exercise, the troubled retailer owes the landlord more than Sh12 million in rent arrears.

Youth hired by Makini carted away goods and loaded them into trucks parked outside as Uchumi's staff watched helplessly.

The supermarket chain's senior management declined to comment on the matter as at the time this story was published.

Spectacle

In a scene that was a spectacle to onlookers and staff, the auctioneers also demolished the supermarket’s shelves and packed them into waiting trucks.

Some of the goods seized include foodstuffs, clothes, shoes and fresh vegetables.

Police officers guarded the premises as they went about their business.

Unlike similar raids on Uchumi and Nakumatt branches in the past, there was no looting by members of the public.

Tom Nyandika, an official with Makini Auctioneers, said they were taking the goods to a warehouse while awaiting further orders from court.

"The rent has been long overdue. They were given a notice but they did not pay. It is a long story but the rent arrears are coming up to 12 million shillings," he said.

Eviction order

The landlord's move to recover arrears from Uchumi follows an eviction order issued by Chief Magistrate Julius Nang’ea on April 5.

"The owner went to court and got a court order to access the supermarket. They had closed but the court order with the police assistance made them open. Notice is for fourteen days but they were given almost three months to pay. We are taking the goods to a warehouse awaiting further orders from the court," added Mr Nyandika.

The eviction followed a court order issued by Chief Magistrate Julius Nang’ea.

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