By Jackson Okoth
Members of the collapsed Good Life Sacco as well as its sister arm Fedha Micro Investment Ltd have petitioned the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) to ensure safety of the properties which they used as collateral to secure loans from the Society.In addition to securing their log books and land title deeds, the petitioners also want the Government to launch investigations into what led to collapse of Good Life Sacco and its subsidiary Fedha Micro Investment Limited.
This petition has been copied to the Director of Criminal Investigations and the County Co-operative Commissioners of Nyandarua and Laikipia.
“We are aware of what is happening at Good Life Sacco but please call me at some other time so that you can have the details,” said John Mwaka, Acting CEO Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority. At the time it went under, Good Life Sacco was offering a range of financial products including development, farm, emergency, school fees and holiday loans. It also had a range of deposit products includingGroup Savings Account, Business Account and Fixed or Call Deposit Account. In September, 2015 SASRA blacklisted Good Life Sacco Society and related Fedha Micro-Finance Investment Ltd. This was after it was accused of taking deposits from the public yet they are not registered to do so.
The regulator also sanctioned four other Saccos for similar offences. They were Prevailing Sacco Society Ltd, New Milimani Sacco Society Ltd, Millionaire Sacco Kenya and Urithi Premier and Urithi Housing Co-operative Society Ltd. In a press statement, Mr Mwaka warned the public against dealing with these Saccos. He accused them of collecting money “from the public with false promises of favourable returns on savings and or deposit
The authority warned the public that those dealing with these unregistered entities were doing so at their own peril should they lose their money. SASRA said these Saccos were not registered and cannot collect money from the public or run front offices. He said that Sacco societies are legally restricted and limited to only carry out non-withdrawable deposits to lend to members. “Such societies are prohibited from providing Fosa services such as deposit accounts of any description, ATM services and mobile money business among other,”said Mwaka.
Good Life Sacco had its head offices on 3rd floor, Kigio Plaza, Thika with branch offices in Nairobi, Githurai, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Eldoret, Kitale, Nyeri and Nakuru. The Society had sister companies offering services in Insurance, Real estate, Security and Hospitality sectors. The Eldoret branch was officially launched by the Uasin Gishu County Governor, Jackson Mandago on January 24,2015. This was after launching the Nakuru branch on October 23, 2014 where the Chief Guest was Nakuru County Governor, Kinuthia Mbugua Sacco Review revisited the website of Good Life Sacco and pieced together some of the complaints that members posted on before it went under.
“Let us join hands to recover members’ money that went under with this Good life Sacco. Kindly tag CBK Governor Dr Njoroge. All members kindly twit Dr Njoroge our money must be returned at all cost,” said Jared Nyakundi, a member of Good life Sacco Limited. Nyakundi’s bitter sentiments are echoed by other members who also posted on the Good Life Sacco website. “I wish to withdraw my invested funds. I have not heard of any genuine reason as to why interests have not been remitted to clients. Remember you are bound by an agreement. Give clear information and stick to agreements. If you can’t handle the deal refund us immediately. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE AND UNFAIR!,” said Joyce Wanjiru in comments posted on June 5, 2015. This was just two months before Good Life Sacco was blacklisted by the regulator. Mr. Obadiah Maina, the founder of Good Life Sacco, shared his story on the society’s website in what can only be described as a captivating rag to riches tale. Maina rose from a Sh 12,000 IT tutor job to founding the multi-million shillings Sacco in November 2012 with the help of some of his close friends. In six months, Good Life Sacco had
registered 3,000 members. By 2015, it had 7,000 members and was planning to convert into a bank this year. The Sacco had already begun an aggressive shares sale drive to achieve this objective before SASRA pulled the plug.
Efforts to obtain comments from Mr Philip Gichuki, Acting Commissioner for Co-operatives proved futile with his phone remaining unanswered by the time of going to Press.