Barely a decade ago, Atul Shah was one of the biggest movers and shakers in the Kenyan retail industry.
So much of a big deal was he, that during his prime, respected international business journals such as the Financial Times named the former Nakumatt CEO as one of the top 50 influential businessmen in the world, alongside big distinguished names such as Equity Bank’s James Mwangi and Nigeria’s leading industrialist and cement magnate, Aliko Dangote.
However, since then, the once leading retail giant has fallen on rough times so hard that it has had to close shop, and in what will now come like salt to injury, Atul Shah, has lost his Lavington home to auctioneers after the High Court dismissed a petition seeking to overturn the forced sale of the high-end property by KCB Group over a Sh2 billion debt.
KCB had earlier sold Mr Shah’s prime property in Industrial Area, Nairobi, to Furniture Palace International Ltd for Sh1.04 billion, court records show.
The bank, through Leakey Auctioneers, early in the year quietly sold the property, which Mr Shah had used as additional security as Nakumatt’s guarantor to offer comfort to the multiple bank loans.
It was after this that Atul went to court seeking to overturn the sale and have his lavington house returned to him. Nakumatt’s court-appointed administrator had opposed the sale too, on grounds that the auction failed to follow the law, and tagged Mr Shah as an interested party to suit.
However, Justice Francis Tuiyott dismissed the petition by the administrator of the collapsed Supermarket chain.
In the ruling that undoubtedly damaged the morale of the supermarket’s remnants, Justice Tuiyott dismissed the petition saying that Nakumatt has no chance of success.
“This court is not persuaded that the suit, as currently presented, demonstrates a prima facie case with a probability of success. Being unable to surmount that hurdle, it is needless for this court to discuss other aspects raised in the application,” the judge said.