Aggrieved members of the dissolved Ekeza sacco yesterday stormed Calvary Chosen Centre church seeking audience with Bishop David Ngari, popularly known as Gakuyo, who is the sacco’s chairman.
This was the second time the members went looking for the bishop, in an attempt to get back their money after the sacco was placed under receivership by the government last year.
Led by Theresiah Ndirangu, the investors said they were lured into saving with the troubled sacco after eye-catching media advertisements.
“We all have toiled to save with Ekeza sacco. Our lives have been shattered after Gakuyo declined to refund our money. Our children dropped out of school, our lives are at a standstill and we remain hopeless,” she said.
John Waiguru, a 2007 Post Election Violence (PEV) victim, said he started investing at the sacco after his land in Molo was grabbed. He was hoping to purchase a transport vehicle with his savings.
“I trusted him because he is a man of the cloth,” he said.
Patrick Ndung’u, a car wash employee, said he wanted to buy land after he was evicted from his Kuresoi home during the 2007 clashes.
“I started by saving Sh2,000, which I toiled hard to get. I later made gradual savings of Sh500 and Sh1,000 monthly until I had Sh108,000, which Gakuyo has failed to refund,” he said.
The bishop told the investors arrangements for their compensation are underway and urged them to remain calm.
He said he is selling his property as advertised in local dailies last week to repay the members.
Ngari said an annual general meeting for the more than 53,000 members had been set for July 21, when the Commissioner of Cooperatives will either lift the sacco’s receivership status or steer an agreeable arrangement. “I want to assure all the members that you will not lose your money,” he said.
Early last year, the Government took over the sacco after cancelling its licence in an effort to protect thousands of investors. The sacco has since been liquidated and the cash realised used to pay some depositors.
The sacco reportedly owes members close to Sh1.5 billion.