Liquidators to give verdict on Ekeza Sacco in 3 months

Commissioner of Co-operatives Mary Mungai. FILE PHOTO | NMG

What you need to know:

  • Commissioner of Co-operatives Mary Mungai said refunds to members who had saved Sh50,000 and below would begin soon.

The fate of Ekeza Savings and Credit Cooperative Society will be known in three months when liquidators complete their work.

Commissioner of Co-operatives Mary Mungai said refunds to members who had saved Sh50,000 and below would begin soon.

She, however, warned of misleading ads about the society.

“I have information on some radio advertisements by individuals claiming the sacco will be reopened. The decision to reinstate the sacco’s licence will be based on a report from our auditors,” she said.
Assistant Director of Co-operative Audit Stephen Kamau and Principal Co-operatives Officer Philip Ukhevi were appointed to oversee the affairs of the sacco.

They are to establish the financial status of Ekeza, set up a management team and new offices to handle the activities of the sacco.

Ms Mungai said the society was run as a personal outfit and failed to call annual general meetings or elections.

It also never prepared minutes for major decisions regarding its operations.

She revoked its permit after receiving complaints that Ekeza was sharing office space and bank accounts with Gakuyo Real Estate company, also owned by televangelist-turned-politician David Ngare Kariuki of Cavalry Chosen Centre, Thika.

“It will have its workers, offices and accounts,” Ms Mungai said.

“Ekeza as an independent entity can buy land from Gakuyo and deposit money in Gakuyo’s accounts, but there should be no mixing of resources,” she said.

Once re-established, Ekeza will have its books regularly audited and the reports submitted to the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority.

“Audited reports will show what the society owns, money in its accounts as well as loans given to members,” she said.

Ekeza’s downfall followed complaints over failure to facilitate allocation and construction of low-cost houses for its members.

Mr Kariuki, who said he read mischief in the closure and termed it political, has quietly been looking for members and telling the old ones to remain “and pursue your home ownership dream”.

Mr Kariuki, who is Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu’s adviser on economic matters, said there was no cause for alarm as he and other sacco officials are working with the liquidators to address members’ concerns.

“The issues raised have are administrative and solvable. They have nothing to do with misappropriation of funds. Our members should remain calm,” a statement signed by Mr Kariuki said.

“We reiterate that the members’ funds are safe and we shall update them on any developments.”

The society had 85,000 clients who paid a membership and registration fee of Sh2,000 before they could begin saving for a house.

A table banking group had to provide a registration certificate and Sh6,000 while those opening a joint account paid ShSh4,000 as registration fees, with every individual expected to contribute Sh1,000 monthly.

Ekeza, known for its campaigns across Kikuyu radio and TV stations, had offices in Nairobi, Kiambu, Murang’a, Embu, Nakuru and other towns. It had 26 branches and its deposits totalling Sh3 billion.

Expected benefits for Ekeza members included access to affordable credit for buying plots as well as facilitation for house construction.

Mr Stephen Irungu, who joined Ekeza in April 2016, had saved Sh103,000 but withdrew Sh25,000 to meet an urgent need. His efforts to recover the balance have been in vain.

Ms Mungai said big savers will wait longer while those who used title deeds and logbooks as security must continue repaying the loans or risk punitive measures by the liquidators.

Ekeza attracted members by offering three-bedroomed houses in Joska, on Kangundo Road, at Sh3.5 million.

Those interested were to save Sh20,000 a month.

A Sh1.5 million two-bedroomed house required a registration fee of 2,000 and a minimum monthly savings of Sh10,000.