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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 26 April 2015

MMUST SACCO hit by scams

The election of new board members of Wevarsity Sacco Society Limited in Kakamega that is eagerly awaited will have to wait a little longer after all since an inquiry report on former officials and members of staff who have been implicated in massive theft of the sacco funds has not been received to-date from the Commissioner of Cooperatives in Nairobi.
This was among the resolutions passed unanimously by members during their annual general meeting at the university last Saturday. The members strongly felt it would be imprudent for anyone to pressurize convening of the elections of such magnitude before a report of inquiry was received and fully discussed. They said the integrity of those being elected to run the Sacco was of paramount importance, hence the need by members to vet every individual before being allowed to contest.
It was for that reason members voted unanimously to retain those running the Sacco on interim basis to continue until such a time they were notified by the local cooperative officials that the team from the Commissioner of Cooperatives in Nairobi which investigated the scam was now ready with its report so that the next meeting will be held for the purpose of electing bona fide board members. The board of directors who were elected on interim basis to run the Sacco include Dr. Samuel Maragia (chairman), Sikuku Oduki (vice chairman), Rose Anene (honorary secretary) and Ms Consolata Lusweti (treasurer). On the board also is the newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer Victor Kiptanui.
It was the view of the meeting that elections only take place after they have received and thoroughly scrutinised the inquiry report from Nairobi as the only way to decide on the way forward. This would then give the members the leeway closing out from the election exercise all officials who will have been found culpable in the scam that almost crippled the eleven-year old Sacco. It is alleged between Sh3 million and Sh5 million may have been embezzled before the interim officials took over recently. The members urged the county cooperative officer, Andrew .Obanda, to physically liaise with Nairobi so that those who investigated the scam at the Sacco bring the inquiry report to the next Annual General meeting expected soon.
Addressing the meeting at the Auditorium Hall, the interim chairman, Maragia, said for the first time their Sacco had at least acquired its own plot within Kakamega town at a total cost of Ksh17.2 million. He said the land had already been sub-divided into 28 plots with four plots being reserved for office buildings and real estate business premises while 24 had been sold to members.
He reported that due to constant delays by the university management in remitting members money to the Sacco, letters have been written to the Commissioner of Cooperatives to attach the University property. He said this was in line with Section 35 of Sacco Societies’ Regulatory Authority (SASRA) compliance which authorised Saccos to fill Form 3 to attach account numbers of the employer.
Maragia further informed the meeting that three members of staff had so far been dismissed on financial impropriety and that final hearing of the case against the accused will be on May 23 this year. He thanked the members for approving a proposal by the board to increase the borrowing powers by the board from current Sh20 million to Sh30 million.
The most damning report during the meeting was tabled by the chair of supervisory committee Dr. Martha Konje, who said the Wevarsity Sacco Mpesa was no longer a viable business undertaking. She surprised the members that the Sacco had lost more than 80 per cent of its investment in that venture. To make the matter even worse, Konje said there was no evidence neither that Wevarsity Sacco had earned any commission from its Mpesa venture since its inception in 2009 and wondered what role the previous supervisory committees played.
In her report which was approved by the meeting, she suggested that costs on staff overtime allowances be reduced accordingly and responsibility allowances be increased. The members further approved the supervisory committee recommendation that all committees of the Sacco should hold only one meeting per month to avoid imposing unnecessary costs on members through payment of allowances.