Trans Elite Sacco once beset by graft bounces back

By Isaac Biwott

The Trans Elite County Teacher’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society in Nandi County is back to its former glory after settling an off-shore loan owed to Oikocredit International.

The International micro-finance company of the Netherlands had been approached by the then Nandi teachers Sacco seeking a loan of Sh65 million in a bid to boost its credit base to members.

Oikocredit International approved the “soft loan” proposal as the society management then under the chairmanship of the Henry Birgen (deceased) handed them with Sacco building title deed as collateral.

According to the society proposal, the Oikocredit International loan attracted a one per cent interest per annum and planned to loan their members at a rate of 14 per cent which would have earned the society 13 per cent per annum.

The lender approved Sh65 million from the proposed Sh96.5million with the society raising Sh5 million as their contribution to the loan kitty.

The money was quickly wired to the society’s account in mid-2004 to the then management committee’s undisclosed K-Rep Bank-Nairobi West branch account in the name of the society.

The account remained a guarded secret between a few members of the executive committee where money was withdrawn and diverted to personal accounts of members of the previous management.

The acquisition of the loan came to light after the Sacco almost went under in 2005, when KNUT branch Executive Secretary Josephat Serem mobilized members to evict the management.

The management under the chairmanship of Birgen and General Manager Sammy Kirwa were evicted and a caretaker committee replaced them.

The society had failed to meet its regular loan demands by teachers where those who received were like favourism and no longer a right.

Subsequent audit from Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) uncovered massive theft of the society’s money among them the unexplained secret account the Sacco held with K-Rep’s Nairobi West branch.

It’s mandatory for Saccos to declare all the accounts they hold in commercial banks to SASRA and the Ministry of Co-operatives, however, the then Nandi Teachers Sacco management had concealed the K-Rep account.

The secret account was used as a conduit to siphon out the Sh65 million Oikocredit loan.

Forensic investigations led SASRA and the Ministry of Co-operatives auditors to Oikocredit International where the management had secured an explained loan whose money were neither wired to the Sacco’s National or Co-operative Bank branches in Kapsabet as expected.

The two banks had declared known operational accounts, however, K-Rep account was purposely opened to be used to handle Oikocredit loan, the report noted.

Following the discoveries which also indicted all members of the management, the report caused panic and anxiety among the then 4,000 members of the society resulting to withdrawals of shares and diversion of pay points.

This denied the society the highly needed contribution while the front office services department remained a ghost part of the Sacco.

Having exhausted all avenues in abid to have the government help them by either taking over the Oikocredit International loan or find another method of settlement it remain for members to repay.

Under the guidance of the team chaired by lay Cannon Alfred Ng’etuny and the General Manager Ezekiel Sawe, the Sacco finally decided to repay the loan and safe the society’s building from being auctioned.

When the loan was acquired, the agreement was to be repaid within a period of 5 years and which would be been cleared by 2010.

However, since the money never entered into the society’s known account and with contests and protest between 2005-2016, the Sacco ended paying about Sh100 million being interest and penalty.

“We completed and cleared the loan in 2020 and have collected our title and the Sacco is now financially sound,” Ng’etuny said.

The Sacco which has since been re-named as Trans-Elite County Sacco is back to its former position and is headed to becoming one of the leading teachers Sacco in the region.

The membership has equally grown from 1500 at the time the current committee took over to 6000, an indication of confidence.

“Where we have come from is hard to explain and we must thank the management team, society members and the employees for the sacrifices they have made to ensure we are back and on the road to reclaiming the lost glory,” Sammy Sawe said.


“As teachers’ representatives, we urge all teachers who left and joined commercial banks to come back and support our society,” Serem said.

Trouble with the teachers Sacco started when they started various investments and acquisition of properties across the region.

They had bought thousands of acres at former EATEC farms in Uasin-Gishu which they hoped would be sold to the members; however, the management decided to “grab” the farms and sold them at commercial prices and pocketed the money.

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