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Economy

State stops Ekeza property auction

Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG 

The government has stopped televangelist-turned-politician David Kariuki Ngare from selling hotels and land belonging to his real estate company to protect savings by members of Ekeza Sacco.

Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya said Mr Ngare, popularly known as Gakuyo, diverted sacco money to fund the firm and cannot be trusted to sell its assets to repay members their deposits in excess of Sh600 million.

Mr Munya told a media briefing he had directed the Commissioner of Cooperatives, Mary Mungai, to stop the sale through a court order until ongoing investigations into the troubled sacco are concluded.

“The commissioner will move to court by Monday to seek injunction so as to stop him from auctioning, dealing or transferring any property connected with Ekeza Sacco,” said Mr Munya.

A successful injunction request will bar Mr Gakuyo from selling Lillies Hotel in Juja, Salama House and Swift Breeze Hardware on Garissa Road, Thika, a quarry in Murang’a and 250 acres of land in Murang’a and Machakos counties.

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Mr Munya said his ministry was “terribly” concerned that the process of refunding members their dues was proceeding in an unfair manner and at a slow pace, leading to protests.

The report of the ministry’s investigations into the dealings of the sacco is expected on February 21. Initial findings of the probe, said Mr Munya, point to culpability on the side of the management.

“Records are there. Some of the money has been diverted to buy property and taken to certain institutions which can also be traced,” said the CS, calling for patience from affected savers.

Mr Munya added that he will write to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) seeking action against mobile service operators who have allowed money transfers from the sacco to continue despite the ministry’s order against it.

“We will file a complaint at the CA in respect to such providers who fail to honor directives thereby frustrating efforts to safeguard funds,” he said.

Ekeza Sacco was to be liquidated by March 2018 but the management successfully appealed the decision promising to pay members.

However, the sacco had only reimbursed Sh116 million of about Sh600 million that was being demanded by members as at end of October last year, according to Mr Munya.



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