Cooperatives & CommunitiesEast AfricaFinancial

Mwalimu SACCO members query pay deductions

Mwalimu National Sacco members in Western Kenya have threatened to stop their monthly contributions to the Sacco.

The members claim that the Sacco has been making unauthorised deductions from their salaries.On Monday, they stormed the Sacco’s Kisumu branch, demanding the ouster of the branch leadership.

Motorcycle loans

According to some of those who were interviewed by The Standard, the Sacco introduced a loan product where members could purchase motorcycles.But since repayments for the loans began, the SACCO has been making larger deductions from members’ salaries than what was initially agreed on, the members said.John Jagongo, who spoke on behalf of some of the affected members, said many were shocked when they visited their accounts to find there was no money, despite salaries and dividends having been deposited.

“The agreement was that members would take motorcycles from specific shops and they would pay for them through Sacco loans. A few months after the purchases were made, these shops closed,” Mr Jagongo explained.“

As a result, there was nowhere to access spare parts for the motorcycles from, and when we asked the Sacco about it, the managers simply said we will have to keep paying off the loans even if the bikes are grounded due to a lack of spares.”

Jagongo said some of the teachers had taken up to 15 motorcycles, which were being sold at Sh103,000 each.He said the loans still have to be serviced even if the bikes are grounded.“It is sad that the Sacco belongs to us teachers, yet the people we employ to manage it treat us with contempt,” said Jagongo.

Another member, Evans Obuya, said Kisumu branch, with more than 40,000 members, is the most vibrant across the country, serving teachers in Nyanza and Western regions.“Failing to address our grievances could lead to the crumbling of the entire institution,” he said.

“Most teachers in other parts of the country receive their salaries through accounts in commercial banks, while most teachers in Kisumu receive their salaries through the SACCO. That is why we feel betrayed.”

Asset base

Jagongo further said that: “The Sacco has been claiming to have a huge asset base and a committed membership, but it does not reward members with a proper dividend.” In its last financial year, the Sacco declared a dividend of nine per cent.Kisumu Sacco Branch Manager Sam Njoroge refused to comment on the allegations raised by the members when journalists approached him at the institution’s Kisumu offices.

A man who introduced himself as his deputy said he had instructions not to allow anybody into the manager’s office.When The Standard tried to contact the Sacco’s main offices in Nairobi, calls and text messages to managers went unanswered.

Yesterday, members were attempting to rally each other to paralyse operations at the Kisumu branch through social media. (Source/ The Standard)

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