Looters’ paradise: Sh200m goods ‘lost’ after auctioneers raid Nakumatt Lifestyle
Property worth about Sh200 million belonging to Nakumatt Holdings cannot be accounted for after auctioneers, led by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and security officers, raided the firm’s outlet at Hazina Trading Centre early Sunday morning.
The auctioneers, who had hired close to 120 youth, loaded merchandize into trucks and offloaded them at the retailer’s headquarters off Mombasa Road, giving looters an opportunity to cart them away.
Nakumatt Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Atul Shah said the raiders arrived at the store a few minutes to midnight, took goods from the shelves and loaded them into 12 trucks.
He said the men who led the operation contracted people on the spot to remove things from the hall and take them to trucks parked ouotside.
“The security guards called me and told me that the people there were accompanied by Administration police officers. He said they were issuing contracts for people to sign outside, I called the Central Police Station but they could not act immediately since there were other police officers there,” Mr Shah said.
He added that he could not tell whether all the goods were taken to their headquarters and others diverted, said some of the goods were looted outside their head-office.
Looters outside the head office pounced on the electronics, foodstuff, bicycles and clothing. They used the chain’s trolleys and carts to take away whatever they could, leaving papers strewn outside the gate.
Some of them hired taxis and motorcycles to transport the loot as they celebrated “the free Easter” goodies. Most of them were from the Mukuru slums and neigbouring estates.
“There was no court order to evict us or prior warning. This came without our knowledge and we have decided that we will take legal action against NSSF for the destruction of property. This is illegal and apart from repossessing the premises we had rented, we will sue,” Mr Shah said.
Central Police Station OCPD, however, said the police arrested the auctioneer and the NSSF head of Security, Samuel Omondi, whom, he said, led the operation.
“They are in our custody and we are trying to find out what orders they were acting upon, before we can arraign them in court on Tuesday,” Mr Thuku said.
Employees at the Supermarket said the people who raided the store removed all the merchandise and dismantled the shelves before leaving.
In December, the Hazina Trading Centre evicted Nakumatt from its premises due to rent arrears amounting to Sh73 million. The eviction would have paved the way for NSSF to continue with the construction of the building, which has fallen years behind schedule.
The national pensions body sealed its main entrance and clamped vehicles belonging to Nakumatt, blocking clients from accessing the premises. Nakumatt however moved to court and obtained orders to stop the eviction.