A group of human rights activists have joined members of various cooperative societies in petitioning Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives Development Simon Chelugui to immediately take action against rogue Saccos Society Regulatory Authority SASRA officials suspected to have orchestrated what they claim to be massive rot and corruption in the management of various Saccos across the country.
The rights activists led by Executive Director, Sheria na Haki Human Rights Institute John Etore Akaran also demanded for immediate suspension of Sasra Chief Executive Officer Peter Njunguna as they accused him of particularly being the co-author of poor management and corruption scandals that befell the ailing Metropolitan National Sacco ltd.
They further petitioned the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission EACC to launch fresh investigations into the conduct of other senior managers and directors of SASRA and their involvement in the collapse of the once vibrant Metropolitan National SACCO formerly Kiambu Teachers Cooperative Society.
“Kenyans need to know what happened and who was behind the collapse of this Sacco especially now that people know that the problem started during the time the Sasra CEO was by then heading the regulator’s Saccos Supervision wing that was responsible for monitoring and reviewing all cooperative societies’ policies and regulations,” said Mr. Akaran.
Weekly Citizen also has information that former Senior officials including Managers and Directors of the ailing Sacco suspected of forming a cartel that conspired with other unknown individuals within and outside SASRA to deliberately loot members’ deposits worth more than kshs 800 million in two years, a concern also raised by the human rights activists.
“How come Njuguna could not even raise an alarm when former officials of Metropolitan Sacco were stealing money belonging to members… these massive fraud and mismanagement could not have happened without his knowledge so he must take responsibility and resign immediately ” Mr. Akaran added.
Meanwhile, members of the ailing Sacco had recently, through another petition to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations DCI and other government investigative agencies, challenged Njunguna’s integrity to head the country’s Sacco regulator while consistently accusing him of having been part of the orchestrated scandal that has seen Metropolitan Sacco members failed even to access their salaries and loans through their Sacco.
The more than 70,000 Sacco members claimed the Sasra top management led by Njuguna was a threat and an obstacle to the ongoing reforms being undertaken to resuscitate the ailing Sacco and demanded that he resign immediately to pave the way for fresh and serious investigations into the corruption scandal which has seriously affected members in terms of mental health and self-development.
An investigation report that revealed massive plunder in the sacco had earlier recommended indications and banned from holding public office any manager and director suspected to have played a role in the siphoning of members’ money.
The investigation was conducted following a gazette notice dated April 22, 2022, issued by David Obonyo, the Commissioner for Cooperative Development and its report according to sources pointed to cooked Sacco books of accounts by corrupt officials to show members that their Sacco had a strong balance sheet while at the same time, they were embezzling their deposits.
The report further revealed several cases of violation by Metropolitan Sacco managers and directors against the regulatory requirements.
SASRA as a semi-autonomous government agency has the mandate under the Law to ensure Sacco member’s interests are protected and build their confidence in a sector that has widely been hit by poor governance and outright theft of funds belonging to the public.
Metropolitan Sacco remains in financial limbo with members’ deposits amounting to kshs 6.9 billion, kshs 700 million members shares, and outstanding loans worth 12.8 billion, according to the report.
The Sacco further has a total base asset of kshs.13.6 billion and 8 branches across the country which have closed shop following government directives issued early this year, as part of key measures aimed at sustaining the institution’s operations.