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Sacco members clash with board over dividend

By Nathan Ochunge | April 16th 2019

Wevarsity Sacco Society Limited during their Annual General Meeting at Masinde Muliro University at the weekend. [Benjamin Sakwa]

Chaos rocked a meeting of a Sacco with members drawn from universities in and outside the western region and the Kakamega County government at the weekend.

The 16th Annual General Meeting for Wevarsity Sacco Society Limited turned chaotic after members engaged the board of management in a shouting match, making a session that should have lasted four hours to stretch to eight hours.

Members accused the board of management of running down the sacco and deducting Sh10,000 from their contributions without following due process. The management undertook to reimburse the Sh10,000 following the protests.

Throughout the meeting agitated members could be seen standing on their chairs and exchanging harsh words with the board.

When the sacco's chairman Jason Nganyi stood to address the gathering, some members matched to the podium and snatched the microphone from him, accusing him of dictatorship.

Other board members are John Marani (vice chairman), Nixon Apwoka (treasurer), Rita Shitemi (honorary secretary), Samuel Maragia, Lilian Mukoche, Frankline Wandera, Sammy Nzetse, Ernest Kabaji, Elizabeth Simiyu, Shadrack Opunde and Victor Kiptanui, the Sacco CEO.

Members of the Wevarsity Sacco are staff working at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Friends Kaimosi University College, Kibabii University, Turkana University College, Kakamega County Government employees and Kakamega Water and Sanitation Company.

Trouble started when it emerged that the board had deducted Sh10,000 from members' dividends to raise Sh14 million towards the construction of Wevarsity Plaza in Kakamega town.

Allan Lumwagi, a member, told off the board, saying they did not agree to that their dividends be deducted for construction of the Sacco plaza during a special general meeting. He said that was a ploy by the board to embezzle funds.

“There is no proof of the meeting or minutes that allowed the board to deduct our money. We want the construction of the Sacco Plaza suspended and our money refunded,” said Mr Lumwagi.

Lumwagi also called for the immediate disbandment of the board and replacement of current members with others in acting capacity before the AGM could continue. He even proposed to have them surcharged.

Efforts by Kakamega County Commissioners of Cooperatives Nathan Mukhweso to bring the meeting to order did not bear fruits. Members accused him of siding with board members.

Michael Amukanga, also a member, questioned why Sh3.5 million was missing after the Sacco migrated from Automated School Management and Account System to Vanguard financials. The anomaly was raised by an external auditor, who audited the sacco's books of account.

Amukanga said Sh33.65 million could not be accounted for and that they had decided to write off the debt at Sh3.5 million annually.

But the sacco's CEO told the members the loss arose from default in loan repayment by members. “A loan that has not been paid for over 12 months is considered as a loss,” he said.

Mr Amukanga also questioned why the board of management was spending a lot of money on committee sitting allowance and travelling without members’ approval. 

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