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Society directors sent packing over mismanagement of funds

CENTRAL
By By ERIC WAINAINA | October 3rd 2013

By ERIC WAINAINA

Kiambu County: Farmers at Komothai Coffee Farmers Co-operative Society in Githunguri sub-county have sent their directors home after allegations of mismanagement of funds rocked the society’s leadership.

Members unanimously made the resolution following an audit report by the society’s supervisory committee that revealed they had overspent their allowances.

According to the report obtained by The Standard, the 14 directors under the chairmanship of Samuel Muthuya had spent Sh3.3 million in allowances between February and May.

The ousted board confirmed that they were aware of the damning report but refuted the allegations, saying they were malicious and false.

The society is now under the management of an interim committee that the members selected. The new committee is led by the county’s co-operative officer, Joseph Mathenge.

Elections to appoint new directors will take place in mid-October.

Apart from having the directors sacked, the members want an audit by the relevant ministry to establish the exact amount of money allegedly  embezzled and the directors ordered to refund it or face prosecution.

The report stated that Mr Muthuya spent Sh901,000 in allowances in the period under review.

The members said their coffee payment had also reduced, adding that they were getting as low as Sh23 per kilo of beans.

Failed in elections

“We were paid at 64 per cent average from the 80 per cent stated by the co-operative rules for unclear reasons. There is clear financial mismanagement caused by over-expenditure in the budget, from Sh600,000 to Sh1.6 million. Travel, airtime and official duty cost Sh1.2 million yet it had not been budgeted for,” Joseph Kihura, a member, said.

Reuben Mburu, another member, said they are concerned that in just five months, Sh3.3 million has gone to directors’ allowances, meaning in a year they could be spending at least Sh10 million. “Are we growing coffee to enrich ourselves or to enrich the directors?” he posed.

The ousted vice chairman, Moses Muturi, refuted the fraud claims, saying the figures were exaggerated to meet some people’s interests.

“They included maintenance and security expenses to our allowances to show that we had spent a lot of money. There are people who have been fighting to get these offices but have failed in the elections and they are behind the allegations,” Muturi, accused of spending Sh529, 000, said.

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