Vicious boardroom war rocks giant Afya Sacco

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 00:07 | By
Sacco savings illustration. PHOTO/Courtesy

A vicious war has erupted at the multi-billion shillings Afya Co-operative Savings and Credit Society (Sacco) with top managers and Central Management Committee (CMC) members taking on each other.

At the core of the raging battle which has caused tremors in the dynamic co-operative movement, are corruption queries involving billions of shillings allegedly siphoned from the organisation since 2018.

It has even gone higher with Cabinet Secretary in charge of Co-operatives Peter Munya, a legislator in the East African Legislative Assembly and a senior Co-operatives officer being brought into the tussle as key players.

Valued at over Sh17.5 billion in terms of assets, Afya is among the top five billionaire Saccos in the country.

The cash scam is alleged to have been engineered and executed by top managers targeting the Sacco’s account at the Co-operative Bank headquarters which is managed by them.

It has since led to the sacking of Deputy CEO Livingstone Sakwa, Risk Management Manager Wycliffe Mworia and Vitalis Lukiri  who is also the Sacco’s national chair and his deputy Simon Kariuki.

A CMC member Prudencia Wafula said trouble erupted at the Sacco after the CMC instituted internal investigations into the circumstances under which the society had lost hundreds of millions of shillings through internal fraudulent actions since the year 2018.

“It saw last year an angry ADC demanding for heads to roll by those involved in the massive theft,” she added.

Wafula said the investigations resulted in the sacking of Sakwa, Mworia and earlier ICT manager and more than 12 employees including a close relative of CEO Felix Ndoi  for alleged involvement in the looting of the Sacco’s millions through its FOSA ATMs. It has allegedly lost nearly Sh1.5 billion to date.

Our actions

“These investigations and our actions were sanctioned and mandated by the Sacco’s ADC in April last year at the Kenyatta International Centre (KICC) on April 27, 2019 at which the CMC committed itself to ensure that those involved in the thefts were dealt with,” she added.

Wafula said the latest crisis at organisation was triggered when the CMC recommended transfers right from the management level starting with Banking Manager to junior staff, a move, she added was blocked by Ndoi.

She claimed it was this action that made the Sacco CEO to seek Munya’s intervention through Aburi’s brokerage on allegations that the CMC was recklessly sacking top managers.

Contacted for comment Ndoi said: “It is true just like any large organisation that we are having some internal challenges that we cannot discuss through the media because they are sensitive.

If anything we will simply buy space in the mainstream media to set our records straight in paid up advertisements.”

However, our attempt to follow up on the matter proved futile as subsequent calls and text messages went unanswered.

Other members of the CMC who spoke to the Business Hub said the CEO used a pending 2006 contempt of court action against the then CMC leadership to hit back at them. 

“The CEO kept it as a secret weapon since he did not ensure the conclusion of the contempt matter to date,” they added. 

They said when the latest transfers were ordered by the CMC Ndoi instead retrieved the pending 2006 contempt of court proceedings against the Sacco and together with others were reportedly connected to Munya.

A lawyer involved in the matter asked how elected leaders of a Sacco could be sacked by Commissioner of Co-operatives acting on a 2006 court ruling 14 years later, and also over a decision made by the Sacco’s Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) of 2006.

Lukiri, who had initially refused to comment on the matter, also wondered how many Commissioners had been aware of the 2006 case and never used it to chaallenge  CMC members.

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