Wakf Commissioners Tussle over Muslim Millions in bank

Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori (left) with NACADA director Sheikh Juma Ngao in Kionondo Kwale County. The two said President Uhuru Kenyatta was biased in awarding Meru farmers Sh1 billion to revive miraa farming yet there are many crops in Coast that need to be revived. [Photo:Tobias Chanji/Standard]

Imams are feuding over Sh100 million meant for funding Muslim causes at the coast.

The row at Wakf Commissioners of Kenya (WCK) over control of funds has seen some imams threaten legal action.

Wakf is a charity created over a century ago to aid Muslim causes in Lamu, Malindi and Mombasa. It was created by an Act of Parliament in 1951. The Act has been deemed by many Muslims as obsolete and in need of amendment.

At the heart of the tussle is the impending transfer of Sh100 million from First Community Bank to Central Bank of Kenya.

Yesterday, some imams accused the commission of frustrating the process.

Security bond

Addressing journalists at the WCK offices in Mombasa, Commissioner Sheikh Juma Ngao and several imams protested the commission's failure to address them yesterday on the alleged delay to transfer the funds as approved by the board.

“Chairman Mr Zubeir Noor was expected to explain why Sh100 million is still lying at the First Community Bank and has been tied to a security bond for six years. The management of funds here is shrouded in secrecy and we demand transparency,” said Mr Ngao, who called himself the chairman of the audit committee.

Ngao, who is also the national chairman of Kenya Muslims National Council (Kemnac), challenged the commission to implement the decision of the board, saying the funds belonged to all Muslims within the country.

He said the transfer of another Sh50 million from First Community Bank to Gulf African Bank took about a month.

However, Mr Noor blamed the row on Ngao, who he accused of dragging the organisation into politics and unnecessary divisions.

“The transfer of money to CBK is a lengthy process and Ngao should not play politics about this. The money was generating 13.5 per cent interest and I cannot understand why Ngao has been pushing for speedy transfer,” he said.

Noor claimed Ngao was a lone ranger, as the four other commissioners had not joined him in calling for the transfer of the funds.

“Someone is using the imams who are not members of the commission to create division,” he said.

Noor dismissed claims by Ngao that he (Ngao) was chairman of the WCK audit committee. He said Ngao was just one of six commissioners.

According to Noor, the Wakf has assets worth about Sh10 billion spread out in Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu, but they generate as little as Sh2 million a month because most leases for the property have not been reviewed in line with the current market value.

Wakf Act

“We have embarked on a comprehensive review of the Wakf Act that may see revenues rise to Sh500 million annually. This will enable us to support madrassa teachers, mosques, widows and orphans,” said Noor.

Sheikh Ali Mondo told Noor to call a meeting in the next one week and explain to them why there had been no smooth transfer of the funds.

“We also want the chairman to explain to all Muslims in the country what assets the Wakf has and where they are... We are beneficiaries of this organisation and we want it to be transparent,” said Sheikh Mondo.

Sheikh Hassan Mbarak said they would resort to street demonstrations or legal action unless an explanation was given.

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ImamsWakf Commissioners of KenyaLamuMalindiMombasaFirst Community BankCentral Bank of KenyaSheikh Juma NgaoAct of Parliamen