More than 100 former employees of Nakumatt Supermarket have petitioned the Trade and Cooperatives Minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde and the Kampala Commercial Officer to help them recover their savings with the in house Savings and Credits Cooperative Society (SACCO) worth Shs500 million.
This comes after Uganda’s taxman commenced the auction of Nakumatt goods as it moves to recover millions of shillings owed by the struggling regional retail chain.
The Uganda Revenue Authority on Tuesday started the public auctions by selling perishable goods owned by Nakumatt.
The clearance sales at two of Nakumatt’s Kampala outlets, Bugolobi and Kamwokya, commenced even as the taxman said that talks are still ongoing with the retailer over possible recovery of Sh7.3 million ($71,000) dues.
The URA last month took over Nakumatt’s operations in Uganda to give itself first priority on all income, as several creditors in Kampala and Kenya bay for the retailer’s blood.
In their 4 September, 2017 petition, the former employees want Ms Kyambadde to summon the SACCO directors and members of the supervisory committee, to explain what happened to the cash that was deducted from their monthly salaries.
Every month, savings, welfare, shares and loan repayments were remitted to the Nakumatt treasury via a check off system.
The petitioners say that Nakumatt Uganda Limited, a company which was employing over 600 employees since 2009, registered a savings and credit organisation and many employees joined it.
“Apparently, the mother organisation which was trading as a supermarket is in its closing stages due to lack of operation finance…the SACCO was being administered by a committee comprising of mainly Kenyan managers whose future stay in Uganda is [a] probability and our funds as members are at great risk and efforts to recover them [are] almost impossible,” the petition to Ms Kyambadde reads in part.
The SACCO board is chaired by Mr Vincent Kimuya, the Nakumatt Oasis Mall Branch manager and a four member supervisory committee chaired by Mr Fred Muzungu, the procurement officer at Nakumatt Oasis Mall Branch.
The petitioners want the Minister and Commercial officer to convene an emergency meeting where the leadership of Nakumatt SACCO would explain the status of the former workers’ money and how they would access it.
Mr Sowedi Mubajje, one of the petitioners said they have failed to access their savings because whenever they apply, the SACCO managers claim that the money is not available.
“It’s money that was chopped from our accounts. We are not asking for unpaid salaries but we want the money that we saved with the SACCO,” Mr Mubajje said.
However, Mr Kimuya the SACCO board chairman said: “The employer [Nakumatt] has met financial difficulties but has committed not run away with anyone’s money.”
Nakumatt has closed five branches in Uganda including; Acacia Mall in Kololo, Village Mall in Bugolobi, Victoria Mall in Entebbe, Katwe Branch and Mbarara Branch.
The retail giant has closed a number of branches in Kenya, where it is headquartered.
The company has been sued by a number of suppliers and landlords in Uganda, over colossal unpaid arrears.