The Commissioner of Co-operatives, Mary Mungai, has suspended the national chairman of Stima Sacco and two other board members who are facing corruption cases related to their former roles at Kenya Power, the utility company.
The three are former Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC managing director Ken Tarus and former senior managers Beatrice Meso and Abubakar Swaleh Shariff. Mr Shariff has been sitting in the supervisory committee of Stima Sacco, but like the other two, has to step down to pave for investigations into corruption allegations at Kenya Power.
“I suspended the three in accordance with the law, Section 28:7 of the Co-operative Societies Act. The annual general meeting of the Sacco can give directions in line with the Act on how to move forward when such cases arise,” said Ms Mungai in an interview yesterday.
The Co-operative Societies Act provides that the commissioner may suspend from duty any committee member charged in a court of law with an offence involving fraud or dishonesty, pending the determination of the matter.
The Act does not, however, specify how the positions should be filled once vacated, in the event that senior Sacco managers are implicated in corrupt practices.
During Stima Sacco’s 45th annual general meeting last Friday, delegates through a resolution unanimously declared the three positions vacant, meaning they must now be filled up by new officials.
They argued that a continued stay by the officials who are implicated in dirty dealings was hurting the reputation of the Sacco, which also announced a net surplus of Sh849 million for the just-ended year.
“A decision to suspend them was made by the Commissioner of Co-operatives immediately they were suspended at Kenya Power over corruption allegations. They have to go,” said Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu) secretary-general Ernest Nadome.
Ms Meso was general manager for Corporate Affairs and company secretary at Kenya Power while Mr Sharrif was the general manager for Human Resource and Administration. They are being investigated over allegations of graft affecting their employer. That also means they have to step down as Sacco officials.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Noordin Haji, ordered for the arrest and prosecution of the three among other officials over allegations of procuring faulty transformers at the utility firm. The managers allegedly procured defective transformers, and also engaged in irregularities in prequalifying 525 companies for labour and transport contracts.
Through the two contracts – for transformers and labour and transport – taxpayers lost Sh470 million, besides the losses from power outages associated with the defective equipment.
Kenya Power had already paid Sh310 million for the defective transformers despite the company having terminated the contract.
The purge also saw Energy Secretary Charles Keter blacklist more than 350 companies linked to corrupt tender dealings at Kenya Power from participating in energy sector tenders.
Investigations indicated that some employees had been giving tenders to questionable firms.
“The delegates have unanimously agreed to send the three officials packing,” said Stima Sacco chief executive Chris Useki in an interview yesterday. "It is their right to do so. Whatever the decision they arrive at, it will carry the day".