14 June 2017

Uganda: Minister Drags Nakumatt to Court Over Shs 2 Billion Debt

Photo: The Observer
Nakumatt store.

State minister for veterans Bright Rwamirama and wife Florence Rwamirama together with Mpororo Group limited have dragged retailer Nakumatt to court for failing to pay them $569,339 (Shs 2b) in rent.

Rwamirama says in court documents filed at the High Court commercial division on April 12 that Nakumatt has since 2013 not paid him a penny in rent. The retailer was operating its Mbarara branch at Multiplex complex along plot 4, Buremba road.

The suit piles more pressure on the Kenyan retailer that is facing demands from tens of suppliers. In April, the company shut down its Katwe branch over rent arrears. Most of its open branches remain empty as suppliers have stayed away from the troubled firm.

Court documents indicate that prior to Nakumatt renting Rwamirama's premises, it required the landlord to undertake changes at his own cost to fit specific requirements for the retailer's business as a precondition for renting the premises.

To make the changes, Rwamirama argues, he borrowed money from Dfcu bank and, also to create additional space within the building, sent some tenants away.

"To date, the defendant [Nakumatt] has neglected to pay for additional space despite the several invoices and constant reminders," says the Rwamiramas in court documents.

In defence, Bernard Mutua , the Nakumatt Uganda country manager, said that the structural changes in the building were to be carried out at the cost of the landlord.

He notes they had agreed to a three month rent free period which he accuses the plaintiffs of not honoring.

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