The closure of a supermarket chain in the UAE owned by Al Manama Group has caused the loss of millions of dirhams in unpaid bills throughout the supply chain.
Around 40 representatives from over 100 suppliers came together on Thursday and alleged they have been unable to contact the management of the group despite repeated attempts.
According to The Khaleej Times, the suppliers have lost millions of dirhams worth of goods, which the supermarket chain never paid for before closing.
“The trouble with the group started early in March and they almost stopped paying us the money from June,” said PK Kutty, sales manager, Al Jazira Poultry Farm. “But I am dealing with the group for more than three decades, and I trusted them when they said the dues would be settled soon.”
While repeated calls to the Al Manama Group offices by Logistics Middle East went unanswered, Mohammed Shameem, credit controller at logistics firm Baqer Mohebi Enterprises, said that when he visited the group’s head office in Ajman last month it was “in chaos”.
"There was nobody responsible in the office. We could only see some (junior) managers who knew nothing about the situation,” he said. "The managing director of the group, Abdul Khader Sabeer from Kerala, India, has been missing from the UAE for some time. And all other responsible people gradually disappeared."
Baqer Mohebi Enterprises alone is owned AED1.4-million from the supermarket chain for 3PL services.
“I have eight cheques worth a total of Dh1.4 million with me and two of them have already bounced. The rest are due in the coming month and I don't think it will pass at the bank," Shameem told The Khaleej Times.
The 40 suppliers have indicated they are planning to take legal action against the group due to the unpaid fees and bounced cheques.
In a voice message sent to Khaleej Times from an undisclosed location, Abdul Khader Sabeer, managing director of Al Manama Group said he hopes to resolve the crisis the group is facing.
"It started with some bank issues and there were some salary dues to my employees. I was confident that everything would soon be all right. But some unexpected incidents happened and the situation worsened because of external interference," he said.
Sabeer added that AED4.5-million had been deposited with the UAE government to cover salaries of its employees, and said he was in talks with groups interested in acquiring Al Manama’s assets to cover the suppliers’ unpaid fees.
He said it won't happen in one day and that it needed time and hit out at the banks that opened criminal cases against him and forced him to flee the country.
Al Manama Group had more than 15 shops across Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.