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Nakumatt held Sh123m in collapsed Charterhouse

Nakumatt
Nakumatt’s collapse has brought back echoes of the Charterhouse scandal. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nakumatt Holdings had Sh123 million in accounts at Charterhouse Bank, which collapsed in 2006 over claims of money laundering.

According to financials of the supermarket published by audit firm Parker Randall Eastern Africa, the retailer had Sh116 million in the bank in 2016, Sh119 million in 2017 and Sh123 million in 2018.

In 2019, the amount booked under trade and other receivables stayed flat at Sh123 million.

“The non-current bank balance represents a balance held in a current account with Charterhouse Bank Limited. The bank is under statutory management and it is, therefore, not clear as to when the company will be able to recover these monies,” the report says.

Charterhouse Bank was closely linked with Nakumatt, with the lender’s branches located inside the supermarket’s stores. They were also an associate of the bank through common shareholding, according to a Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) report.

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The collapse of Charterhouse Bank unravelled as one of the largest money laundering scheme that roped in a string of companies including Nakumatt and Triton Petroleum Limited.

The lid was blown by Peter Odhiambo, an auditor who handed Kenya Revenue Authority and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission a dossier detailing several irregularities including suspicious transactions in some accounts that lacked customer identification information.

A Central Bank of Kenya inspection later found that the bank had lent both Nakumatt Holdings Limited and Triton Petroleum Limited in excess of the single borrower limit of 25 per cent of its core capital.

Nakumatt’s collapse has brought back echoes of the Charterhouse scandal, with revelations of insider deals in which the retailer’s directors siphoned Sh1 billion in interest-free soft loans by the time it was placed under administration on January 22, 2018.

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