Gov’t says enough evidence to charge persons in Uchumi mismanagement

Gov’t says enough evidence to charge persons in Uchumi mismanagement

The government now says there is enough evidence to prosecute persons accused of mismanaging Uchumi Supermarket leading to the downfall of the retailer chain even as it announced plans to pump Ksh 1.2 billion to revive the outlet.

In a press briefing Sunday, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said that a forensic audit carried out on Uchumi has provided enough evidence to nail those who mismanaged the retailer chain.

“The first thing to mention is that the question of moral hazard will be fully and properly addressed. The money going into Uchumi comes from the hard-earned taxes of Kenyans. They want to satisfy themselves that it will be used properly,” noted Esipisu.

“One way to do that is to ensure that there are consequences for past misuse. That’s why I want to be clear today: there has already been a forensic audit of Uchumi. The Cabinet Secretary’s understanding is that enough evidence has been gathered to press charges against persons who may have mismanaged its cash and assets. Ladies and gentlemen, there will be accountability.”

The funding of Uchumi will be considered at the Cabinet level when the CS for Industrialization, Investment and Trade, Adan Mohammed, will “give a presentation on the proposed injection of Ksh 1.2 billion into the retailer”.

The funding, should it be approved by the Cabinet, will see the retailer chain undergo some re-organisation in order to guard the taxpayers’ money.

“Suppliers will not be harmed by this re-oganisation, and injection of cash. Great care has been taken to protect their interests. The Cabinet Secretary and Uchumi management have consulted closely with them, and we are glad to say that whatever plan is presented would have their support,” added Esipisu.

State House also noted that with Uchumi being a Kenyan retailer, it must be properly managed to provide an excellent outlet for Kenyan product.

“We believe that that opportunity should not be lost, which is one reason for the proposed cash injection.”

“The government is a shareholder in the concern. Public money has been invested in Uchumi over the years. That money should not be allowed to go to waste. So long as there is a chance that a revived Uchumi will recover the investment, it is prudent to keep looking for that settlement.”

Uchumi has been staring at a possible closure over the last few months after it failed to meet its financial obligation to pay suppliers and remain afloat, with a section of suppliers moving to court over monies owed to them.