The problems facing Nakumatt Holdings heightened Wednesday with the supermarket's goods being thrown out of its upmarket Nyali premises in Mombasa.
City Mall moved to evict the troubled retailer, formerly Kenya’s largest supermarket chain, over rent arrears amounting to Sh27.8 million.
Makuri Auctioneers official Joel Muasya confirmed that the court order was issued on Monday.
More than 10 police officers guarded the premises as goods were forcibly removed from the supermarket from around 9 a.m. this morning.
Nakumatt officials helplessly watched as merchandise worth millions of shillings was thrown out into the parking bay and behind the premises.
“I am just executing a lawful court order. This is an eviction against Nakumatt supermarket from this building. We are not carrying any goods. Ours is to just evict them from the building and close it down. Whoever has their goods should remove them. The workers are happy because they have not been paid for months,” Mr Muasya said.
More than 20 workers expressed their happiness after their employer was thrown out of the building citing delayed pay.
“We have not been paid our salaries since September last year but God is God of justice Nakumatt is paying back for our injustice,” a worker at the scene said.
Curious residents and tourists milled around the area surprised with the turn of events.
They watched as rice, sugar, biscuits, fruits and more were destroyed during the exercise.
“We are waiting for the owners to donate the food. This is so sad. Some people are sleeping hungry while food is destroyed,” Ms Jenny Okello, a resident, said.
Execution of the order was not without drama after a man was arrested for stealing clothes and goods.
The middle-aged man, who was contracted to help in removing items from the supermarket, went to the clothes area, chose the best and left.
He was however pounced on by police and forced to take off the expensive apparel as he begged for forgiveness.
He had worn two pairs of jeans, five checked shirts and also helped himself to two baby cots.
“Forgive me please. I just wanted to feel nice,” he pleaded.
Failed to meet obligations
A notice of forfeiture seen by the Business Daily 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 ret along with failing to meet numerous other conditions of the signed lease,” an official from Ideal Locations told the Business Daily.
The official who sought anonymity said the supermarket has forfeited three months' arrears.
The matter is still before court.