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High Court stops leadership change at troubled Ekeza

By Kamau Maichuhie | March 12th 2019
Lawyer Danson Omari who is representing David Kariuki Ngare alias Gakuyo addressing journalists at the DCI headquarters. [File, Standard]

A court has barred the Government from changing the leadership of Ekeza Sacco.

The High Court order came after 11 sacco members challenged a decision by the Commissioner of Cooperative Development Mary Mungai to change its management.

Through their lawyers Danstan Omari and James Mamboleo, the members argued that if the court failed to bar the commissioner from making the changes, the sacco would be exposed to neglect, plunder and wastage.

They said Ms Mungai used the sacco’s special general meeting held at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on February 21 to make some changes.

During the Kasarani meeting, the management was dissolved and replaced with an interim committee of five, who were elected from the members. They were supposed to be in office for 90 days.

Those kicked out of management included sacco founder David Kariuki Ngare alias Gakuyo, vice chairman James Kimani, treasurer Mark Nyaga and Ann Mbugua (secretary). Others are Gladys Muthoni and Robert Njoroge, who had b been board members.

The interim committee that was appointed is headed by Charles Mage.

The members, according to documents filed in court, said a change in leadership would expose them to irreparable damage.

“The membership of the sacco will be disfranchised and miserably disadvantaged if the state’s illegal and unwarranted action is allowed to reign,” they said.

The case will be heard tomorrow.

Last December the commissioner ordered two officers from her department — Philip Ulluma and Stephen Njoroge — to audit the sacco. They were expected to look at its governance structure, savings and credit management, total outstanding refunds for members and financial performance. 

In their report, the two accused Mr Gakuyo of moving Sh1.5 billion from Ekeza to the sacco’s sister company, Gakuyo Real Estate, without members’ approval.

But Gakuyo disputed the findings, saying Gakuyo Real Estate borrowed the money from Ekeza to buy land and build houses for members at a cheaper price.

Gakuyo was last week questioned by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

He presented himself to the DCI after reports emerged that he was being sought by police in connection with a scandal that had rocked the sacco.

Gakuyo, who is also the Bishop of Calvary Chosen Centre in Thika, was accompanied by six lawyers.

He left the DCI headquarters after about one hour.

His lawyer, Mr Omari, said the DCI confirmed that there was only one complaint against Gakuyo.

The complaint came from the Trade ministry and police informed Gakuyo’s lawyers about it five minutes before they arrived at the DCI headquarters in Nairobi.

The defence team was yet to read the document expressing the complaint.

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