Nakumatt Prestige Plaza

A shopper at the Nakumatt store, Prestige Plaza in Nairobi.

| Nation Media Group

New twist in ‘secret’ Nakumatt store operations

The Nakumatt store that has been secretly operating at Prestige Plaza, Nairobi, has abandoned receipts and price labels branded with the fallen retailer’s logo.

This came as it emerged that the collapsed retailer could be pocketing proceeds of sale of hundreds of items on the store’s shelves.

Two days after the Nation revealed that Nakumatt is secretly running a branch at Prestige Plaza on Ngong Road, the store stopped issuing receipts with Nakumatt branding on the back.

By the weekend, the store was issuing receipts with a plain pink back, with no text or images.

Most price stickers are now branded with “Parkview”, replacing the Nakumatt ones that indicated discounted cost of goods on the shelves.

Despite the document changes, the Nation has established that Nakumatt founder Atul Shah could still be pocketing millions of shillings from product sales through another company – Parkview Shopping Arcade Limited.

Nakumatt Prestige

Attendants and a customer at Nakumatt Prestige in Nairobi after restocking on January 21, 2018. The store and five others were bough by Naivas Supermarkets for Sh422 million.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Mr Shah’s portrait still stood at the store’s entrance when we did a follow-up spot check over the weekend. The store still had Nakumatt shopping baskets.

The Nation last week revealed that a Nakumatt branch was still being run secretly at the plaza.

At the time, Nakumatt administrator Peter Obondo Kahi denied that the collapsed retailer runs the secret store.

But after some prodding, Mr Kahi admitted that M-Pesa payments made to the store are deposited in a KCB Bank account that Nakumatt owns.

The store was not disclosed in books of accounts that Mr Kahi presented in court, and to creditors.

Nakumatt financials filed in court show that the Prestige Plaza space was sold to Naivas Supermarket.

Coupled with the revelation that a sister company is running the store and Mr Kahi’s admission on the M-Pesa number being linked to a Nakumatt account, the destination of sales at the till remains a mystery.

But as Parkview is owned by Mr Shah, he could be one of the beneficiaries.

Mr Shah is out of the country seeking medical aid for a variety of illnesses, including blood pressure and diabetes, and was unreachable at the time of going to press.

Facemasks

A box of facemasks bought from a Nakumatt store at Prestige Plaza in Nairobi on March 1, 2021.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

“I think the receipt should be the basic because it contains the Electronic Tax Register of the entity. The M-Pesa account is swiped to a KCB account we hold. That’s why we have in accounting what we call intercompany balances and reconciliations,” Mr Kahi said.

The Prestige Plaza store has no branding, and no name.

But the few people aware of it know the store as Nakumatt, including security guards and other Prestige Plaza workers.

Goods sold at the store are all on steep discounts, some priced at 90 per cent less of their actual value.

A receipt we obtained during our second spot check indicates that the store is owned by Parkview Shopping Arcade Limited.

This means that Mr Shah may still be raking in millions from the retail business, even as banks and suppliers try tracing his assets to plug a Sh38 billion debt hole that Nakumatt pushed them into.

At the store, the two spaces that were customised shops inside Nakumatt are now private offices where shoppers are not allowed to enter. Nakumatt previously occupied two floors at the plaza.

Last January, Naivas acquired six Nakumatt branches for Sh422 million, including Presige Plaza.

Facemasks

A box of facemasks bought from a Nakumatt store and a receipt that was issued for the purchase at Prestige Plaza in Nairobi on March 1, 2021.
 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

But Naivas has only occupied the ground floor space. Parkview is one of Nakumatt’s sister companies being pursued by banks for payment of loans that they guaranteed the fallen retail giant.

Interestingly, Mr Kahi and his team of corporate morticians tasked with winding up Nakumatt have been operating from the same store since August, 2020.

The move followed an auction of Nakumatt’s 10-acre headquarters along Mombasa Road to settle a Sh700 million loan.

The headquarters were owned by Collogne Investments, a sister company to Nakumatt, which had used the land to guarantee the retailer’s Sh700 million loan from Bank of Africa.

A search at the Business Registration Service’s online portal revealed that there is no company registered as Parkview Shopping Arcade.

While we did find a Park View Shopping Limited, the firm is listed as unverified which means it has not disclosed crucial ownership information to the Registrar of Companies for online publication.

But the company’s listing on the website indicates that it was incorporated some time in 2010.

Court proceedings and filings by Mr Kahi have, however, verified that Mr Shah is the beneficial owner of Parkview Shopping Arcade.

Parkview owns a 1.7-acre plot in Westlands, opposite Westgate Shopping Mall that UBA Bank has been targeting to offset a Sh119 million loan balance. Parkview guaranteed Nakumatt a Sh250 million loan.

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