Members of the Basilica self-help group in Nairobi have resolved to verify the sources of cash deposits the shareholders will now be making into the society’s savings accounts to ensure that they were clean and hard earned money.
The group passed a resolution subjecting members making deposits exceeding Ksh 200,000 to present supportive evidence of proof that the cash was not obtained through fraudulent and corrupt means.
An Annual General Meeting held at the Holy Family Basilica Catholic Church enacted the proposal to entrust the Caritas Micro Finance bank with the scrutiny of bulk deposits to lockout dirty money from finding their ways into savings accounts of the Catholic owned bank.
The Self help Group bank concept was mooted to facilitate savings among members and has since sprouted into several branches within Nairobi and her environs amid fears that some corrupt individuals could use the bank to sanitize their dirty cash.
Deputy Director of Caritas Micro Finance Bank Sister Modesta Karuri said the measures was aimed at cushioning the members’ savings and deter them from the temptation of getting involved in corrupt dealings
“As Christians, it is important to lead by example and Caritas will not encourage members to deposit money gotten through unholy means as this will be ungodly”
Sister Modesta advised members to always desist from handling dirty money saying the 40 days for thieves is approaching very soon and that they should not be found to have invested in a church organization like Caritas as the Catholic Church does not advocate unfairness.
In case the intended savings that a member intends to deposit was acquired through sale of anything like property, the institution shall require to be furnished with a sale agreement of the said property, she clarified to the Meeting which was well attended.
The deputy director clarified that as the government continues clamp down on those involved in looting public funds, Caritas shall not be used as conduit to store stolen money “If anyone has any of that kind of money in their homes or places of work and thinks they will deposit it into their accounts, is shall not be accepted, she said.
Basilica Self Help Group is a social economic group that was started in 1997. The group has over 3,000 members. As per December 2018, it had 1615 active members and 1799 dormant members.
The group mobilizes savings of its members and issues loans at an interest rate of 1% per month on reducing balance.Its patron is Father Peter Kamomoe. It also has a benevolent fund which currently stands at 1,863,480.00 shillings as at April 2019.
A member can borrow up to a maximum of three times their savings. Loan period of up to 60 months. Loans must be fully guaranteed and only a members’ shares and those of the guarantors act as collateral for the loan which is paid at the bank and the receipt furnished to the Self-help group at Cardinal Otunga towers for record keeping. Leadership of the self-help group is only reserved for members who profess Catholic faith but non Catholics can only fellowship through belonging to the group.
In as much as Caritas is protecting members from depositing dirty money, it shall also assist them by demanding an explanation if they wanted to borrow bulky money. “If anyone applies for one million and above, we shall ask you to explain how you plan to use the money so as to cushion you from extravagance” she said.
The deputy director continued to explain that the institution had discovered that dormant accounts had been used for fraud cases in which members lost their money. For this reason, she said all money owed to defaulters would be consolidated and put aside so that the management would make efforts of reaching out to them so that they could come and reactivate their accounts in two years.
If they do not respond, Caritas shall take another one year within which it shall forward the said money from dormant account holders to Unclaimed Assets Authority so that Caritas does not continue carrying the burden of someone’s money only for children to resurface when the owner was no more.
Caritas Bank acquired the license on 12th June 2015 and was officially launched by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue on 20th April 2017 in a colorful ceremony held at Holy Family Basilica.
Caritas microfinance bank is one of the thirteen microfinance banks (MFBs) in the country, registered by the Central Bank of Kenya and licensed to operate nationwide.
By Lydia Shiloya