Nakumatt suffers blow after law firm pulls out - Daily Nation

Nakumatt suffers blow after law firm pulls out

Thursday December 21 2017

Some of the Nakumatt Supermarket workers who took part in the demonstration in the city centre on December 7, 2017. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

Some of the Nakumatt Supermarket workers who took part in the demonstration in the city centre on December 7, 2017. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Troubled supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings suffered yet another blow Wednesday after a law firm that has been representing it in court pulled out of the cases.

Justice Fred Ochieng allowed the firm, Iseme, Kamau & Maema, to cease acting for the supermarket after advocate Diana Ogulla informed the judge that the company had been ignoring the firm’s legal advice, “which has made it impossible for the [law] firm to continue acting in this matter”.

She said their differences on how to handle the matters would not allow the firm to continue acting for the supermarket.

There are about five cases in which the law firm has been representing Nakumatt.

Once again, through its new advocates, the retail chain revisited the issue of administration but Mr Justice Ochieng declined to grant the order.

Insolvency petitions

Iseme, Kamau & Maema has been representing Nakumatt in the merged insolvency petitions filed by African Cotton Industries and Gold Crown Beverages, which have so far attracted over 90 creditors who want the supermarket sent into liquidation.

Other cases the firm acted for the retailer include a suit stopping the eviction of the supermarket from Garden City and a labour dispute pitting Nakumatt against its employees.

Thika Road Mall had attached Nakumatt’s goods and equipment to recover Sh51 million in rent arrears.

The troubled retail chain is suffocating under the weight of debt, estimated at about Sh40 billion.

The issue of administration was first rejected by High Court judge Joseph Onguto, who has since recused himself from the case.

Aid recovery

The judge Wednesday said Nakumatt had not placed before the court, sufficient information to show how it plans to settle the debt and how the planned merger with Tuskys would aid the recovery efforts.

“This court, therefore, finds that in the present circumstances, the request for the appointment of an administrator is therefore declined,” said Mr Justice Onguto.

Justice Ochieng directed that the case to be heard on January 11.