By Kamundia Muriithi
Residents of Embu County fear losing their money to a savings and credit cooperative organization they had invested in.
The society allegedly promised them that they could get loans of up to 10 times their savings and at eight percent interest rate per annum once they joined it.
The Sacco started operations in Embu in 2015 and traders deposited money hoping to get loans to expand their businesses.
“I joined the Sacco trusting that it was associated to the KNCCI. But after applying for a loan in August 2015, I never got the money. They kept giving excuses,” said Fredrick Munene.
Even after they cancelled their loan applications and applied for refund of their savings and shares, the co-operative has allegedly failed to refund them. It has also failed to return back the title deeds and logbooks issued as security by some members, they alleged.
The Sacco, headquartered in Kiambu County, is associated with an official who chairs a faction of a county Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
However, KNCCI has distanced itself from the Sacco, with the Embu branch chairman Samuel Kanyi, asking the Government to intervene and ensure the businesspeople get back their money.
In 2015, KNCCI national office issued a notice that they were not affiliated to the Sacco, and would not be liable for losses or damages arising from their operations of the Sacco.
A member claimed he deposited Sh167,000 with the Sacco and surrendered his logbook as security so that he could qualify for a loan of Sh500,000.
When the Sacco did not refund his money, he allegedly reported to the police who advised him to report to the local co-operatives office, where he was told to report to the national Co-operatives office and to the Co-operatives Tribunal.
A woman who was among the first recruits and got a loan of Sh100,000 after depositing Sh10,000 and her title deed.
Embu Co-operatives Commissioner David Muriuki said the victims had lodged complaints in his office.
Muriuki said the Sacco falls under the regulation of Kiambu Co-operatives office, as it is not under the Saccos Regulatory Authority (SASRA).
A co-operatives officer in Kiambu said the affected members should present a written complaint to the office and they will summon the sacco official and follow up from there. Our calls to the sacco official went unanswered.