Troubled retailer Nakumatt has taken to court its lease dispute with the upmarket Junction Mall, which was on Monday restrained from evicting the supermarket chain from its premises.
Nakumatt accuses the management of the Junction Mall of evicting it as an anchor tenant in breach of a September 15 agreement with the Junction Mall owners and management.
But the Junction Mall owners and Knight Frank, which manages the shopping complex, dispute the claims and instead accuse the retailer of not complying with a lease agreement that stipulated requirements for its continued tenancy.
The cash-strapped retailer on Monday disowned a public notice released on Saturday, indicating that Nakumatt had relinquished its rights over the premises pursuant to a surrender dated September 15 this year.
Nakumatt claimed on Monday, in a statement, it had complied with the contents of the agreement including paying a Sh20 million fee to the Junction Mall owners.
Under the plan, Nakumatt was supposed to provide a clear strategy on how it would address perennial stock-outs at its Junction branch by December 1, a situation owners felt was affecting other business units. Nakumatt was also expected to pay up a Sh20 million fee to the Junction.
“We have taken verifiable steps to ensure that the premises are adequately restocked by December 1, 2017, including by providing approximately Sh64 million of stock to the branch,” Nakumatt said in a statement.
But Knight Frank, which manages the mall, disputed Nakumatt’s assertions and defended its actions of locking out the retailer.
“Nakumatt Holdings did not meet all the terms stipulated in the agreement by the Surrender Date of September 30. A payment of Sh20 million by September 30 was just one of the conditions. It also needed to give a written plan by this date showing verifiable steps of how it would restock by December 1, among other terms,” the property manager said in a statement.
“The Junction’s actions are therefore in accordance with the stipulations of the surrender agreement, which was enforced because Nakumatt did not fulfill all the obligations.”
In its hard hitting statement, the retailer accused Junction owners of acting in bad faith.
“The Junction Mall’s underhand actions on Saturday night, including locking the branch and publicising a fraudulent and misleading notice claiming that the premises have been surrendered by Nakumatt, are clearly contrary to the terms of the agreement, illegal and of utmost bad faith,” it said.