Kirubi charged with conspiracy
Written By:Lempaa Suyianka , Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2008
|Caption: The supermarket was forced to close doors to customers for a month in 2006|
Nairobi businessman Christopher Kirubi was Friday formally charged with conspiracy to defraud Uchumi Supermarket by selling the building along Agha Khan walk to Allgate Company at 147 million shillings and leasing back the same property to Uchumi at 1.7 million shillings per month.
Kirubi had failed to appear in court last Friday together with three others charged with the offence.
Kirubi also faces another count of breach of trust against the public when as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Uchumi Supermarket, he authorized the transfer of land belonging to Uchumi Supermarket to Allgate Company.
He appeared before Senior Magistrate Stella Muteti and denied the offences before he was released on a cash bail of 400,000 shillings.
He is charged with former Managing Director of Uchumi Supermarket Kenneth Thairu Mbugua and the Supermarket’s former Directors Joseph Munyiri Munene and Francis Emanuel Muyugi.
They are alleged to have committed the offence on 11th June 2004.
Last week, 12 former Uchumi Supermarket directors were charged with fraud, the first prosecutions since the retailer nearly collapsed due to mismanagement two years ago.
The charge sheet named the 12 former directors and two companies as conspiring to defraud the retailer by selling a building that housed one of its branches and then renting the same building back to the supermarket.
The insolvent chain was forced to close doors to customers for a month in 2006 but reopened after the government lent it 675 million shillings ($10.9 million).
“(They) conspired together to defraud Uchumi causing … the property of Uchumi to be sold at 147 million shilling ($2.34 million),” the charges read.
“(It was) then leased back to Uchumi at a monthly rent of 1.7 million without a prior independent valuation (or) following an open competitive process and approving the said sale to … a company associated with the core suppliers of Uchumi.”
Uchumi whose trading of its shares at the Nairobi Stock Exchange was suspended since it went into insolvency, is now seeking strategic partners for a capital injection.
The company says an ambitious expansion strategy and inefficient management caused the firm’s downfall but analysts blame the closure on huge losses from corruption, mismanagement and fierce competition.