Nakumatt boss faces probe in Shs670b theft

Friday June 22 2018

Mr Atul Shah, according to a court appointed

Mr Atul Shah, according to a court appointed administrator, wrote off huge sums of money due in stock. FILE PHOTO I NATION 



Nakumatt chief executive officer Atul Shah is facing investigations over theft of suppliers’ stock worth Sh670b.
Mr nakumatt , the Nakumatt appointed administrator, early this week told Kenyan MPs he is seeking funds to hire a forensic expert to investigate how Mr Shah wrote off stocks worth billions of shillings before the company took a nosedive.
He said around May 2017, Nakumatt wrote off stocks worth Sh670b on grounds that there were stocks in the system that were actually not on the retail chain’s shelves.
“It means that the books were massaged a long time ago. It means there was cooking of books. I am looking for money to hire a forensic investigator to tell us where the money is. We are told some money may have been siphoned out of the country,” Mr Kahi told the Tourism Trade and Industrialisation committee which is investigating the collapse of one of East Africa’s retail chain stores.
In 2016, Nakumatt closed all its stores in Uganda leaving unpaid bills in rent and suppliers’ debt amounting to more than Shs30b.
The supermarket has been struggling since after closing off all its regional outlets in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
In Uganda, Nakumatt had been, before announcing a full closure, locked out of some of its premises with held up stock raided by auctioneers.
Mr Kahi said the significant discrepancy in Nakumatt’s books of accounts was booked by the retailer as an adjustment in its accounts for the year to December 2017.
Nakumatt’s former management has said the discrepancy was the result of massive “theft, pilferage, stock shrinkage and losses arising from stock obsolescence, a response Mr Kahi says is “unsatisfactory.”
The Shs670b theft emerged in a comprehensive report Mr Kahi presented to the retailer’s creditors in March, outlining restructuring proposals he believes would keep the business afloat.
Mr Kahi said in the year to February 2016, Nakumatt made sales of Shs1.93 trillion which dipped to Shs592b in the year ended February 2017, meaning that the missing stock amounted to one third of the year’s revenues.