Months after local retailer Uchumi Supermarkets denied that their head office was to be auctioned off so as to clear debts, the cash-strapped company can now no longer access their headquarters.
Media reports say the retail chain has not been in a position to conduct operations from the heart of its Industrial Area offices since October 2 after being denied access to the premises due to rent arrears.
On March 27, Business Today had reported that the Uchumi head office faced imminent auction if it did not settle its rent arrears owed to its landlord the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC).
Uchumi however sent a press release to media houses denying the auction but admitted to rent arrears.
Whereas the actual amount of rent arrears remains unclear, Business Today in March had been led to believe that the debt owed to KNTC was in excess of Ksh60 million.
It adds to the growing saga of creditors lining up to claim their dues from Uchumi, with media reports claiming the total amounts owed are nearing Ksh500 million.
According to court documents seen by Nation Media Group’s Business Daily, employees of Uchumi have not accessed the retail chain’s head office since October 2 when their landlord, Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) locked them out.
The business paper further reported that Uchumi has filed two different l******s against KNTC in a bid to reinstate access to the premises.
Uchumi claim the lock out is hampering their business as they can no longer track and make effective payments when they are due because their servers are down. Business Today attempted to access the Uchumi website which returned an error message indicating that the site could not be reached.
The company also cannot perform critical administrative duties and says the lock out is preventing recovery efforts.
The news comes hot on the heels of Reuters reporting on October 18 that Githunguri Dairies is seeking the dissolution of Uchumi over a Ksh44.8million debt. The Fresha milk producers joined a suit which according to Business Daily, brings the total debt being claimed from Uchumi by creditors as Ksh471 million so far.
Another separate suit from Tropikal Brands is seeking Ksh35 million from the retail supermarket.
The breakdown of the creditors and the monies they are claiming is;
- Board of Trustees of Uchumi Supermarkets Limited Staff Provident Fund – Ksh122.7 million
- Chandaria Industries Limited – Kh68.7 million
- Interconsumer Products Limited – Sh38.2 million
- Equatorial Nut Processors Limited – Ksh21.3 million
- Tropikal Brands – Ksh35 million
- Professional Marketing Services Limited – Sh4 million
- Kenya National Trading Corporation – ???
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