Court orders Uchumi to pay Shs1.2b debt to suppliers

Garden City landlord restrains bailiffs who had turned up to recover a Shs185m Ugachick debt from Uchumi Garden City outlet in October. File Photo

What you need to know:

Time frame. The money in question is over a period of three years.

Kampala. Court has ordered embattled Uchumi Supermarkets Limited (in liquidation) to pay more than Shs1.2b for recovery of unpaid supplies made to it between 2012 and 2015.
Mr Thaddeus Opesen, the Registrar of the Commercial Court, ordered Uchumi Supermarkets Limited to pay Zebu Emporium Limited Shs904,195,156 for supply of different commodities imported from China.

“The defendant (Uchumi Supermarket Ltd) doth pay the plaintiff lost income in foreign exchange fluctuations. The defendant doth pay the plaintiff interest at 23 per cent from date of fell due till payment in full,” held Mr Opesen before condemning the company to legal costs incurred by the complainant.

The order arose from a complaint in which Zebu Emporium Limited, a company run by Chinese nationals, sought court orders against Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd for payment of lost incomes, loss of foreign exchange, general damages for breach of contract and costs incurred.
Through Muwema and Company Advocates, the company said it entered a mutual credit supply arrangement with the supermarket proprietors for supply of different commodities and later demanded for payment by way of invoicing.

According to court documents, Zebu Emporium Limited supplied the supermarket at its various outlets but was paid partly leaving balances which accumulated.
“The plaintiff kept demanding for payment of its monies from the defendant but did not pay and kept promising to pay. In September this year, the plaintiff learnt that the defendant’s business premises were closed throughout the country but when they contacted the directors, they promised to sort the latter out and nothing has been done,” reads the court document.

In a separate case, the retailer is supposed to pay another local company, Trinity Textiles Uganda Limited, Shs320,145,165 being money received by the supermarket on its (Trinity) behalf during a business relationship when the complaining company supplied various outlets of Uchumi Supermarkets assorted electronic items for sale.
Court heard that the said payments were made to Uchumi Supermarkets by its customers during the sale of the complainant’s electronic items directly over the counters and tills.

Uchumi operated a chain of supermarket outlets in the country in Kampala, Gulu, and Mbale.
However, over the past months, the retailer has closed branches including its inaugural and main branch at Garden City which was closed on court orders over outstanding monies totalling to more than Shs185m it owed Ugachick Uganda Limited.
Uchumi, a Kenyan retailer, has since closed doors in Uganda and Tanzania, to concentrate on its home market.
Other companies demanding payments from Uchumi Supermaket include Raza Foods and Hema beverages (U) Limited.