Home » Kenyan retail tycoon Atul Shah receives green light to pursue refund case against Imperial Bank

Kenyan retail tycoon Atul Shah receives green light to pursue refund case against Imperial Bank

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Atul Shah

Kenyan retail tycoon and former Nakumatt CEO Atul Shah has been given the green light by the High Court to proceed with legal action against Imperial Bank Ltd. in pursuit of a refund he had deposited with the now-collapsed lender.

Justice Alfred Mabeya ruled in favor of Shah and his spouse, Neelam Atul Shah, deeming their application meritorious. The Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) opposed the case, arguing that the bank’s liquidation invalidated the application.

However, Justice Mabeya highlighted that the Court of Appeal had lifted the stay against Imperial Bank’s liquidation, effectively supporting the plaintiffs’ quest for justice. “In the premises, there is no prejudice to be suffered by any of the parties if the leave sought is granted. The plaintiffs need to fully ventilate their grievances at the full trial of the suit,” Judge Mabeya remarked.

Furthermore, the court granted Shah’s request to amend the 2020 petition, allowing him to present additional evidence. The former Nakumatt CEO revealed that he held substantial amounts of money in several accounts with the now-defunct bank, which KDIC refused to release.

The Central Bank of Kenya placed IBL under liquidation, appointing KDIC as the liquidator to oversee the process. Shah argued that unless the court granted the requested leave and concluded the suit, KDIC would continue making discriminatory payments to select depositors while excluding others, including himself.

Shah stressed the urgency of resolving the case promptly, considering the bank’s current liquidation status. He maintained that without a resolution, affected depositors would have no remedy. He believed the amendment to the petition would shed light on all contentious issues, enabling the court to make a comprehensive determination.

In response to the application, KDIC, represented by Andrew Rutto, claimed not to be a party to the proceedings. Nonetheless, the court granted Atul Shah’s request, allowing him to pursue his claim for a refund of Ksh15 million ($105,600) held in several fixed deposit accounts at Imperial Bank, along with accrued interest.

Shah is the former managing director and CEO of Nakumatt Holdings Limited, the parent company of Nakumatt Supermarkets, a leading retail empire with more than 50 stores and annual sales of $450 million. The supermarket chain operates through subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

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