MASINDI – Masindi Civil Servants’ Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited is grappling with over Shs 60 million debts, Nasur Ibrahim the SACCO Chairperson has said.
“All the share capital for the members was mismanaged by the previous leadership. Now members want their money but there’s nowhere to get it. Members are demanding for more than Shs 60 million but I found the account with only Shs 6 million. We are just struggling to reactivate the SACCO. We don’t know what some of the money was used for,” Ibrahim told theCooperator on Wednesday.
He explained that everything is in a mess, adding that there are no proper records and the accountability on how the previous leadership used the money.
“I hear the money was lent to the SACCO members but refused to pay back. I was also told the money was used to do administrative issues. Now members are demanding for their savings because most of them have lost interest because of what happened. I have refused to refund their savings because we need to work around and rejuvenate the SACCO,” he explained.
The Chairperson noted that by the time they took over the SACCO a few months back, it had many problems which needed time to rectify.
He also said that members would be compelled to save since it was an automatic deduction from their salaries.
The SACCO comprises of entirely both active and retired civil servants for Masindi District Local Government (MDLG).
In April this year, Moses Kalyegira, the Masindi District Commercial Officer convened a special general meeting to put in place a new board.
Addressing the members during a meeting which was held in the council chambers, Kalyegira noted that the SACCO had been dormant for many years because the board chairperson resigned under unclear circumstances which led to the loss of interest by other members of the board and the SACCO members.
“This is a special meeting because the board had failed to perform it’s works. I have engaged the former chairperson Ruth Kisakye three times to convene a meeting such that she could handover officially but all in vain. I have decided that I chair this meeting such that the SACCO can put in place a new board to start conducting business because we couldn’t go on without the signatories,” he explained.
Kalyegira further said that he decided to take over and organize the meeting because he couldn’t just sit and see the SACCO collapse wondering why SACCOs for other people with little financial knowledge were thriving and yet the one for professionals in finance was limping.
“People have been unable to access services and yet they have their money on the account because the board members lost interest. Let’s forget that and start a new chapter today. I have been receiving many complaints from members about their money being idle in the bank and being deducted,” said Kalyegira.
According to Kalyegira, the SACCO started in 2003, adding that there’s a time when membership reached 300. But by the time they conducted the elections, the active members were 100.
The purpose of its formation was to enhance a saving culture amongst members and to offer loans at a low interest to civil servants.
In the same meeting, Charles Musiguzi, the then treasurer told the members that more than Shs 20 million was in loans, adding that they had Shs 6.5 million on the SACCO account. He also explained that there was a time savings reached Shs 70 million.
He also added that they had a challenge of recovering the money from some people who asked for cross transfers.
“The mode of recovery and saving was automatic deduction from the salaries. Recovering this money might also be a challenge because some of the civil servants no longer work with us,” he said.
He also told the meeting that the reduction of membership was brought about by the laxity of the board members and the poor mobilization skills.
In his inaugural speech, Nasur Ibrahim, the board chairperson promised to regain back the dignity of the SACCO.
“I am one of the people who had lost interest. This is a SACCO for technocrats. How can it fail?” he asked.
However, the chairperson told theCooperator that he is also finding it hard to regain members’ willingness to revive the SACCO since they were demoralized by the acts of the past leadership.
“We have not yet lost hope as a new leadership. We are still mobilizing the members to renew their membership but it’s not a simple task to win them back,” he noted.
Some members whom theCooperator spoke to said that they’re totally disappointed with how the past leaders mismanaged their savings and share capital noting that they would sacrifice their money expecting a lot but in vain.
“We lost interest in the SACCO unless the new leadership came with a convincing explanation, we cannot join the SACCO,” the members who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
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