Saccos on the spot for blocking member exits, stalling refunds

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A growing number of savings and credit cooperative societies (saccos) are blocking members from exiting and clinging to their deposits against their will, complaints filed with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) show.

Records show that in the year ended June 2023, the watchdog handled at least eight cases where saccos had declined to release member deposits despite 60-day notifications of their intention to exit.

CAK intervention

Some saccos, including KICO Sacco, were forced to refund member deposits on intervention by the CAK.

“The complainant sought withdrawal from the sacco membership as per the bylaws of the society but KICO declined to refund his deposits. The complainant was refunded and the case was closed,” the CAK said in an investigation update on KICO Sacco.

The watchdog referred several cases touching on Fountain Enterprises Programme (FEP) and Post Mail Saccos to the Commissioner of Cooperatives, while investigations on others are ongoing. The refusal by Saccos to refund members their savings when they seek to exit could be a pointer to poor administration.

Saccos' by-laws require that when a member decides to exit he shall be required to issue a 60-day notice to their sacco, after which the sacco is required to refund them their due deposits.

In another ongoing probe, a member of Kencom Sacco accuses it of failing to honour the 60-day exit notice.

“The complainant, a member of the Kencom Sacco Society Limited, officially sought withdrawal of membership and gave Kencom a 60-day notice as per the by-laws of the society but the Sacco refused to refund his deposits,” the CAK notes.

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