We will follow you to the grave: Britania,Charms drag cash-strapped Nakumatt to court over UGX 400m

We will follow you to the grave: Britania,Charms drag cash-strapped Nakumatt to court over UGX 400m

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By our reporter

Troubled regional retail chain Nakumatt’s troubles seem to have just started! This is after it emerged that Ntinda based Britania Allied Ind.Ltd with its trade mark-Splash and Charms Uganda ltd, located just opposite dragged the once powerful regional retailer to commercial Division of the high court in Kampala for failure to honor their contractual obligations in which they were bound to pay for goods received from both companies amounting to over UGX 400m.

According to court documents seen by this reporter, the commercial court has issued out summons to Nakumatt (U) Ltd to put in its defense in only 10 days, failure to which judgment will be given in their absence.

Last week (28th/6/2017), Nakummatt shut down three of its outlets in Uganda under the guise of ‘re-development to add value in the shopping experience of its clientele’. Nakumatt Acacia Mall in Kololo, Village Mall in Bugolobi and Victoria Mall in Entebbe were all closed out of business, according to Marc du Toit,the company’s head of retail.

Through their attorneys Mugenyi & Co.Advocates, the first plaintiff (Britania) claims during the period between January 2016 and June 2017, the defendant (Nakumatt) ordered for consignments of goods from the plaintiff’s offices located at Plot M541 Ntinda Industrial Area, Kampala but has since failed to clear.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon.Amelia Kyambade (L) and UNBS’ Exec.Direc.Mr.Ben Manyindo (3rdL) visit Britania in July 2014. Middle is the company’s Head-quality assurance Ms.Carol. [File photo]
According to court files, the plaintiff’s reminders about the payments fell on deaf ears.

“The plaintiff duly notified the Defendant about its outstanding accounts of the sum of Uganda Shs302,261,686.69 and demands for full payment to which demands the defendant has ignored and/or failed to abide to date,” plaintiff’s submission read in part.

To add salt to injury, Charms (U) Ltd, jointly owned by Vinay Dawda who is also the MD to Britania Allied and his wife Tina Dawda logged in a separate suit against the same company for failure to effect payment of goods and consignments they received.

“Basing on the suit, the plaintiff duly notified the defendant about the outstanding accounts of the sum of Shs137,243,654.91 and demands for full payment to which demands the defendant has ignored” suit reads in part.

In both suits, the plaintiffs want special damages, costs to the suits, an interest on all monies and any remedies court may deem fit. The summonses were signed by the deputy registrar Mr Thaddeus Opesen.

Britania’s Director Finance Mr.Muhammed Elizorgani (R), Marketing Head K.R Sridharan (Red T-shirt) and Head Human resource Ms.Florence bid farewell to minister Amelia Kyambade at their Co.head offices in Ntinda in 2014 Ntinda. [File photo]
Charms (U) Ltd is the official Uganda’s sole distributor for Colgate-Palmolive products like Colgate tooth pastes, toothbrush, dental floss, Protex, bar soaps,shower gels, liquid soaps, sta-soft, Axion, Ajax among others while Britania is the manufacturer and distributor for Splash, Biscuits, Top-Up tomato sauces, Sun-Sips, Yo-jus to mention but afew. Their latest flavor in Splash is Simply-Hibi.

This is not the first huddle the ailing retailer is facing in Uganda’s hard economy, in April; Nakumatt shut its Katwe branch after it accumulated rent arrears running into millions of shillings.

Last month, the retailer said it would close poorly performing outlets in Uganda and Kenya. It has already closed two stores in Nairobi.

The retail chain also has a presence in Tanzania and Rwanda.

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