By DOUGLAS DINDI
Cash-strapped Kakamega based Wevarsity Sacco has replaced the entire board of directors in a recent elections held despite Covid-19 protocols.
About four hundred members gathered at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology Annex Grounds to vote out the executive committee comprising Jason Nganyi (Chairman), Agatha Mbakaya (Vice chair), Rita Shitemi (Secretary) and Nixon Apwoka (treasurer) over alleged mismanagement of the Sacco.
The election was a climax of a decade-old turmoil at the Sacco in Western Kenya, which began with a petition by a section of members back in February demanding for a special general meeting to audit the status of the Sacco, initiate amendments to the Sacco by-laws, discuss the board of management and consider their removal over alleged impropriety and to discuss the vacant position of the Chief Executive Officer.
The petition was signed by 142 members earlier this year.
They expressed concern that Wevarsity Sacco was courting deregistration by the regulator Sacco Society Regulatory Uuthority (Sasra) for failure to comply with Sacco laws over borrowing.
The catalyst for the discord was the Sh10 million declared by the management as dividend for audited accounts 2020.
At the core of financial queries by members is Sh46.2 million that remains unaccounted for and spanning seven years between 2014 and 2021, the stalled Wevarsity Sacco Plaza in Lurambi suburbs and the unending controversy surrounding a plot of land mean for subdivision to members for development five years ago.
The new treasurer of the Sacco Andrew Nandasaba told Sacco Review that the new committee has yet to lay its hand on the rot in the Sacco but promised to ensure every stone is turned.
According to a response in the report by the Nganyi committee, which admitted most of the queries, financial mismanagement is normal and historical at the Sacco dating back to 2014 when five employees were sanctioned over Sh5 million losses.
A total of Sh24.3 million in loans are recorded as loans not accounted for during 2015 operation year according to the report, This figure rose to Sh40.7 million by the close of 2018. There is a further Sh500, 000 in irregular transactions during the 2019/2020 period.
The report explains that the current dividend payment of Sh10 million was reduced because Sh13 million is said to be the cumulative financial expenses that are in the books over the past five years.
The Sacco according to the report incurred a cumulative expense amounting Sh52.4 million between 2015 and 2019, resulting in a Sh13.7 million cumulative expense dispensed in the 2020 accounts.
The former committee claims in its response that government tax relief, contributed to the financial crisis in the society as well as salary increment, irregular and uncontrolled borrowing and a tedious process of landing external commercial loans stretched the cash crisis in the Sacco.
Nganyi who insists innocence says the outgoing committee in liaison with the Ministry of Cooperative had commissioned an inquiry to establish the scope and magnitude of the mess and the perpetrators for action.
“Some decisions taken by my committee were due to pressure from members. The monthly cash needs between July 2020 and January 2021 was over Sh30 million against our income of Sh15 million. We were living beyond our means literally; we once went for a bank overdraft of Sh7 million which resulted in a sanction letter from Sasra in October for borrowing without their approval”, he said.