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City tycoon sues Nakumatt CEO over Sh9.5m alcohol debt

Retail chain Nakumatt’s troubles have deepened after Nairobi tycoon Ngugi Kiuna sued its chief executive, Atul Shah, for issuing bouncing cheques to settle the supermarket’s debts.

Mr Kiuna in an application filed at Nairobi’s Milimani Law Courts wants the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) called in to explain why no action has been taken against Mr Shah even after he filed complaints against him.

Mr Kiuna claims that Mr Shah in March 2017 issued him with 10 cheques as payment for liquor he had supplied to the supermarket in 2016 but the banks dishonoured the cheques prompting him to file a complaint with the police.

SUMMON DPP

“This honourable court be pleased to summon the person currently in charge of the office of the director of public prosecutions to appear before it and show cause why despite the numerous follow ups by the applicant herein to his office, he has never reverted with any progress reports or status on the matter,” he says.

Mr Kiuna insists issuance of bounced cheques is a criminal offence and wants the court’s leave to initiate private prosecution against Mr Shah if the DPP and DCI are not able to do so.

He has listed Mr Shah, DPP and DCI as the respondents in the suit filed on October 4. Mr Kiuna says he entered into an agreement with Mr Shah in 2006 to supply Nakumatt with liquor and that the retail chain settled part of the credit leaving out Sh9.5 million.

Mr Shah issued the bounced cheques in March 2017 and was reported to the police. Nakumatt Holdings then intervened and promised to pay the debt in installments – a promise it has yet to honour.

LIFELINE

Nakumatt is currently operating under a court appointed administrator. The High Court in January allowed the appointment of an administrator, Peter Kahi, to run Nakumatt’s affairs, a move that was seen to offer the once giant retailer a lifeline after it threw into disarray landlords who were queuing to evict the supermarket from their premises.

Meanwhile, Mr Shah is facing investigations over theft of suppliers’ stocks worth Sh18 billion.

Mr Kahi in June told MPs he is seeking funds to hire a forensic expert to investigate how Mr Shah wrote off stocks worth billions of shillings before the company took a nosedive.

Mr Kahi told the Senate that around May 2017, Nakumatt wrote off stocks worth Sh18 billion.