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Traders speak of huge losses in Westgate attack

Business owners on Monday spoke of huge losses they incurred in last September’s Westgate terror attack.

Ms Madeleine Ambrosino said her company, African Lily Enterprises, which specialised in selling leather goods, incurred Sh700,000 loss.

She spoke during public hearing on the Westgate Shopping Mall, which began on Monday at Charter Hall in Nairobi.

Al-Shabaab terrorists killed 67 people and wounded more tan 200 others during the attack on September 21.

“Unfortunately, my business, which used to generate a monthly income of Sh2.5 million, had no insurance cover against terrorism.

“However, I would like to be considered for compensation for loss of revenue following the attack which also affected my 11 employees,” Ms Ambrosino, who was accompanied by her husband, told the hearing.

Another trader, Ms Beatrice Kemunto Mwasi, said she was currently between “a rock and a hard place” after her company, Sanabora Design House Limited, lost 50 per cent of its stock during the attack.

“I incurred losses amounting to Sh259,000 after my high quality leather bags were riddled with bullet holes while others were stolen during the attack,” she said.

“My business, which I set up at the mall in 2009, had stock valued at Sh400,000. However, it was not insured against terrorism,” Ms Mwasi added.

The director said she was currently operating at Aqua Plaza but only five per cent of her clients were able to access the premises. She said she required Sh1.5 million to re-establish her business once the mall was reconstructed.

The committee that is holding the public hearings is quantifying the losses incurred by those who ran businesses at the mall when the attack occurred.

The committee — whose members include East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism principal secretary Ibrahim Mohamed — is expected to eventually give recommendations in a report it will hand over to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie on February 24 for further action.

On Monday, Dr Kidero appealed to Nairobi residents to come forward and give their suggestions to the committee.

The hearings end on Friday.