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Nakumatt warns landlords ongoing evictions are illegal

Police officers on guard as as goods belonging to Nakumatt’s  Nanyuki outlet are loaded into a lorry Tuesday morning. PHOTO | MWANGI NDIRANGU | NMG
Police officers on guard as as goods belonging to Nakumatt’s Nanyuki outlet are loaded into a lorry Tuesday morning. PHOTO | MWANGI NDIRANGU | NMG 

Nakumatt Supermarket’s lawyers have warned shopping mall owners that the current countrywide evictions of the struggling retailer from their premises are illegal as they go against a court order.

Taibjee and Bhalla Advocates argue that the order stopping the evictions is in force as part of an ongoing court case in which a new set of suppliers and landlords are seeking to have Nakumatt put under administration.

Primrose Management (the owners of Prestige Plaza), Sunmatt Limited and Jade Concepts (suppliers) and Compulynx Limited (IT supplier) filed the application on December 18, 2017 at the High Court, with the hearing set for January 11.

Nakumatt’s legal team now argues that this application put in place an interim order barring creditors or landlords from attaching the retailer’s assets or evicting them.

“Notice is brought to the attention of all landlords and creditors that an interim moratorium is in effect,” the retailer’s lawyers state in a newspaper advert, adding that the matter comes up for mention on January 11.

“Any landlord or creditor may exercise right to forfeiture by peaceable re-entry in relation to premises let by Nakumatt of only with the approval of the court.”

The warning by the lawyers comes on the back of a series of evictions across the country.

The latest happened Tuesday as the retailer was thrown out of its branch at Nanyuki Mall over non-payment of rent running into tens of millions of shillings.

Similar evictions have happened in, Eldoret and Meru as well as the retailer’s Junction, Lifestyle, Thika Road Mall and Garden City branches in Nairobi – casting Nakumatt’s future in doubt.

The regional retailer is struggling under the weight of massive debt that is estimated to stand at between Sh30 billion and Sh40 billion.

It had sought the help of rival Tuskys, which has expressed interest in buying a 51 per cent stake in the business and pump in Sh650 million for operational costs as well as offer guarantees of up to Sh3 billion to suppliers.

The Competition Authority of Kenya, however, rejected the proposed merger, arguing that the application was done under the wrong clause of the anti-trust law.

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