The proverbial Sword of Damocles seems to be precariously hanging over the head of David Kariuki Ngare – the proprietor of Gakuyo Real Estate and Ekeza Sacco. Kariuki is also a politician from Kiambu, a county government official and the bishop of Calvary Chosen Centre which is based in Thika. Following the closure of Ekeza Sacco in March 26, 2018, that was ordered by Mrs. Mary Mungai, the Commissioner for Co-operatives after the then fast growing organization flouted various laws governing the sector, many members who had painstakingly saved their hard earned money in the hope of putting up homes, expanding their businesses or educating their children were caught between a rock and a hard place. Some have been invading the lender’s offices in a bid to recover their money but all has been in vain.
In what finally appeared as some light at the end of a long and dark tunnel, the Commissioner for Co-operatives through a Gazette notice last week announced the reinstatement of the Sacco’s registration. In that breath, the Sacco held an acrimonious special general meeting yesterday at Kasarani stadium which was attended by most of its 53,000 members.
In a damning report that was prepared by the appointed liquidity receivers, Mr. Kariuki (popularly known as Gakuyo) was criticized for amassing wealth at the expense of Kenyans who trusted him with their meagre resources in the hope of acquiring land or buying houses through Gakuyo Real Estate. Their hopes seem to have been dashed. The bishop’s assets will now be seized in order to recover the money that he allegedly withdrew from Ekeza Sacco and which as per the report was spent on putting up a palatial house for him in an upmarket estate, purchase land for Gakuyo and build houses for sale, besides financing his expensive lifestyle.
Agitated members bayed for the bishop’s blood during the stormy meeting yesterday even as he held his cool and seemingly appeared unmoved. Notwithstanding the fact that government agencies are planning to put on sale his vast estate, it is still not clear the length of time that the dejected members will have to wait before they recover their money from the once popular Sacco.
The lessons learnt are painful. Nevertheless, they should teach Kenyans to be more discerning and rational while saving their money with hundreds of Saccos that have mushroomed throughout the country. Some of them are up to no good, irrespective of the well oiled marketing campaigns that they may be rolling out. They are simply wolves in sheep’s clothing.